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North British Review

Published 1844-1871. Quarterly. Beginning as a Scottish journal associated with the evangelical wing of the Church of Scotland, the North British later ‘acquired a national reputation, and became a serious rival to both the Edinburgh and the Quarterly in the quality of its literary reviewing. E.A. Freeman and other historians were among the contributors. In 1869, under a new proprietor, it became ‘the organ of the liberal Catholic movement’. (See DNCJ, where all quotations appear, for further information and references to additional sources; online edition ProQuest British Periodicals.)

Cunningham, William.“The United States of North America; Their History from the Earliest Period; Their Industry, Commerce, Banking Transactions, and National Works; Their Institutions and Character, Political, Social, and Literary; with a Survey of the Territory, and Remarks upon the Prospects and Plans of Emigrants.” North British, 2, no. 3: (November 1844): 136–74.
        Review notes that Hugh Murray’s book offers a detailed discussion of the subject and recommends it as offering a great amount of important and useful information, written in a judicious and conciliatory spirit. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Robertson, Thomas Campbell.“The History of the British Empire in India.” North British, 2, no. 4: (February 1845): 324–59.
        Offers a lengthy discussion of the content of Edward Thornton’s 1843 book, and criticizes specific aspects including a biased attitude towards the government of Lord Cornwalis. Also points out that the work details some topics but brushes over others. The reviewer also seems displeased by Thornton’s military tone throughout the work. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Maitland, Edward Francis.“The Life and Correspondence of Thomas Arnold, D.D., Late Head Master of Rugby School, and Regius Professor of Modern History in the University of Oxford.” North British, 2, no. 4: (February 1845): 403–43.
        Maitland offers an in-depth discussion of A. P. Stanley’s biography, providing many excerpts and some criticisms. Unsatisfactory aspects are countered, however, by Stanley’s intimate acquaintance and sympathy with the subject. The reviewer also commends Stanley for his very impartial approach to the life of Arnold. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Fraser, Patrick.“History of St. Andrews, Episcopal, Monastic, Academic, and Civil, Comprising the Principal Part of the Ecclesiastical History of Scotland, from the Earliest Age till the Present Time.” North British, 3, no. 5: (May 1845): 196–211.
        Fraser begins by stating that the Rev. C. J. Lyon’s 1843 book is more of commentary on the ecclesiastical history of Scotland than a history of St. Andrews. Further states that the documentation is weak and the author is heavily biased. Stating that the sources are ‘garbage of Episcopalian writers’ and that the observations of Presbyterians and their faith made by Lyon are abusive and intolerant. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Cunningham, William.“Elements of Church History.” North British, 3, no. 6: (August 1845): 444–53.
        States that this work could not have a better suited author than David Welsh and his 1844 first volume (from the birth of Christ to 300) is valuable, written with a philosophical and judicious spirit, extensively researched, and overall illustrates the advantages of studying church history. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Fraser, Patrick.“History of Scotland, 1829-1843.” North British, 3, no. 6: (August 1845): 345–86.
        While insisting that a work of such prominence and great success is above reviewing, the reviewer nevertheless finds some faults. States that Patrick Fraser Tytler’s work is incomplete as it starts too late and also points out that he expresses some prejudices. The reviewer than goes on to earlier histories of Scotland upon which Tytler may have drawn; also notes that Tytler used ideas of other scholars without acknowledgement. On the other hand commends Tytler for his various and good use of sources. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
“The History of Etruria.” North British, 3, no. 6: (August 1845): 454–69.
        Discusses the content of the 1843 work in detail and states that [Agnes M.] ('Mrs’) Hamilton Gray offers some ingenious theories and that her work is instructive, interesting and overall well done, while pointing out that she tends to rely too heavily on ‘philological psychosis’.
Fraser, Patrick.“Letters of Mary Queen of Scots, and Documents Connected with Her Personal History.” North British, 4, no. 7: (November 1845): [5]-58.
        Discusses the content of Agnes Strickland’s 1842 edition of the letters. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Godkin, James.“The History and Antiquities of the Anglo-Saxon Church.” North British, 6, no. 11: (November 1846): [3]-27.
        Reviewer discusses the topic briefly and then goes on to offer a detailed account of John Lingard’s 1845 work with many excerpts. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
“Doubleday’s Financial History of England.” North British, 7, no. 14: (August 1847): 337–54.
        Offers a detailed account of this work and criticizes Doubleday’s style and approach, stating that it is biased to the point of making outlandish assumptions. Can only loosely be titled a history.
“Sketches of the History of Christian Art.” North British, 8, no. 15: (November 1847): 1–20.
        States that the reputation of the author, Lord Lindsay, is upheld with this work that does not disappoint. Discusses the content with excerpts.
Cunningham, William.“‘Presbytery Examined:’ An Essay, Critical and Historical, on the Ecclesiastical History of Scotland since the Reformation.” North British, 10, no. 20: (February 1849): 424–58.
        Review of an essay by the Duke of Argyll, describing it as eloquent; the author clearly appreciates and understands religion. Nevertheless, most of the review focuses on pointing out various errors. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Brewster, David (Sir).“The History of England, from the Accession of James II.” North British, 10, no. 20: (February 1849): 367–424.
        States that T. B. Macaulay’s book is very interesting, will be read and valued, and brings to life the events and characters it addresses. However Brewster also states that the work has a tendency to be repetitive, dates are sometimes omitted, and often the narrative is interrupted with ancient historical information that distracted readers. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Scott, David Dundas.“The History of Rome from the First Punic War to the Death of Constantine.” North British, 10, no. 20: (February 1849): 329–49.
        This review of an edition of Niebuhr’s history by Leonhard Schmitz focuses mostly on the German historian’s life, qualifications and works, then moves on to discuss translations and studies based on his work. States that such works often lose Niebuhr’s style and ideas in translation as the translators and editors often fail to comprehend his complex ideas. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Hetherington, William Maxwell.“The Ten Years’ Conflict: Being the History of the Disruption of the Church of Scotland.” North British, 11.8, no. 22: (August 1849): 436–56.
        States that Robert Buchanan’s book is important and able, utilizes good supporting evidence, has an easy and dignified style which flows well, and is full of eloquence and energy. However, this work leaves out some important elements of the controversy it discusses, such as some of the religious movements behind it. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Patmore, Coventry Kersey Dighton.“The Fourth Estate: Contributions towards a History of Newspapers, and of the Liberty of the Press.” North British, 13, no. 25: (May 1850): 159–88.
        States that the author, F. Knight Hunt, collects and presents interesting facts well and the work is full of useful information; however Patmore regrets that Hunt could not offer more information on such an interesting topic and perform more extensive research, commenting that his journalism keeps him too busy to continue his historical work. (Attribution: Wellesley Index).
Kaye, John William (Sir).“The History of Christianity in India, from the Commencement of the Christian Era.” North British, 13, no. 26: (August 1850): 583–620.
        Review of several works, headed by that of Rev. James Hough, describes their content and discusses the major individuals covered. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Whately, Richard.“A History of the Hebrew Monarchy, from the Administration of Samuel to the Babylonish Captivity.” North British, 16, no. 31: (November 1851): 119–48.
        States that F. W. Newman’s work brings no new ideas forward; merely reiterates past ideas and theories, and ends too abruptly. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Bell, Robert.“History of the War in Afghanistan.” North British, 16, no. 31: (November 1851): 230–58.
        States that John William Kaye’s book is a comprehensive chronology and a valuable contribution to Indian history; it contains full, accurate, and impartial information, and is written with sound judgement. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Kaye, John William (Sir).“The Administration of the East India Company; a History of Indian Progress.” North British, 19, no. 38: (August 1853): 552–82.
        This review of twelve different works on the subject of the Indian governing bodies offers a discussion of the subject and offers the similar and differing views that the different authors present If the Wellesley Index attribution is correct, Kaye is reviewing two of his own works.
Brewster, David (Sir).“A History of the Royal Society,with Memoirs of the Presidents, Compiled from Authentic Documents.” North British, 20, no. 39: (November 1853): 209–47.
        Offers a detailed discussion of the subject matter and the content of Charles Richard Weld’s 1848 work, and states that Weld collected valuable matter and offers a work of interest to both specialists and generalists. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Tait, Archibald Campbell.“General History of the Christian Religion and Church.” North British, 21, no. 41: (May 1854): 101–36.
        Uses this work by Augustus Neander to aid in the current criticism of religious truths and faith. States that this work is useful to learned readers and would be beneficial if an edition were prepared and directed at general readers. Also claims that the author was at times not impartial in examining certain characters. Publisher is T&T Clark, 1847; translator is Joseph Torry. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Masson, David.“History of Scotland, from the Revolution to the Extinction of the Last Jacobite Insurrection, (1689-1748.).” North British, 21, no. 41: (May 1854): 69–100.
        In a review of John Hill Burton’’s 1853 book , Masson discusses the relationship and interaction between Scotland and England. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Freeman, Edward Augustus.“Lectures on Ancient History, from the Earliest Times to the Taking of Alexandria by Octavianus; Comprising the History of the Asiatic Nations, the Egyptians, Greeks, Macedonians, and Carthaginians.” North British, 21, no. 42: (August 1854): 425–50.
        States that Niebuhr needs no praise, is clear and perspicuous, and writes with passion. Freeman adds that Thirlwall writes and presents information skillfully. He also compares the works of the authors and the ideas and attitudes of each. 1853 edition translated by Leonhard Schmitz. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Rawstorne, William Edward.“History of Latin Christianity; Including That of the Popes, to the Pontificate of Nicolas V.” North British, 22, no. 43: (November 1854): 84–112.
        States that Henry Hart Milman’s work is honest, carefully researched, well-written and offers candid and impartial judgement. However, Rawstone adds that Milman does not engage in the process of inquiry but merely offers the results and hence this work is incomplete as it omits essential topics of discussion. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Freeman, Edward Augustus.“A History of India under the Two First Sovereigns of the House of Taimur, Baber and Humayu.” North British, 23, no. 46: (August 1855): 449–80.
        With very few references to William Erskine’s 1854 book or the other works ostensibly under review, Freeman discusses Islam (‘Mohametanism’) in detail by looking at its history and its interaction with other faiths. He offers some discussion of other religions and their interaction with each other and with Islam. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Lorimer, James.“History of Holland from the Beginning of the Tenth to the End of the Eighteenth Century.” North British, 23, no. 46: (August 1855): 422–48.
        The review focuses on nine works (beginning with C. M. Davies’ 1842 work on Holland) on varying topics of British international relations, diplomacy, and international law. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Hannah, John.“The History of the High School of Edinburgh.” North British, 24, no. 48: (February 1856): 359–85.
        Examines six works, using them to discuss the history and progress of the educational system in Edinburgh. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Freeman, Edward Augustus.“A History of Greece.” North British, 25, no. 49: (May 1856): 141–72.
        This review focuses on Grote’s history of Athenian Democracy and states that this work is extensive, original, and demonstrates points with clarity, truthfulness and with practicality. Also commends Grote for always arguing and never assuming or insinuating. However, states that at times his views could be biased, his style was heavy and diffused and lacked simplicity and dignity, and that the narrative at times lacked eloquence and detail. Also claims that Grote is a great historian not a great Greek scholar. Grote, George. A History of Greece. 12 volumes. London, 1846-56. {attribution Wellesley Index}.
Greg, William Rathbone.“The History of England, from the Accession of James II.” North British, 25, no. 49: (May 1856): 79–109.
        Reviewing volumes 3 and 4 of Macaulay’s book, which appeared in 1855, Greg states that the work is beyond review, noting that it has brilliant style, its writing and research is yet to be surpassed and that it must hold its ground forever. He nevertheless notes the author’s biases, concluding that the book’s benefits and usefulness far surpass its faults and discrepancies. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Rawstorne, William Edward.“History of the Propagation of Christianity among the Heathen since the Reformation.” North British, 25, no. 50: (August 1856): 314–48.
        Discusses six works in an exploration of the history of Christian missionaries and the propagation of Christianity. Discusses the motives and successes of these missionaries’ conversion attempts. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Freeman, Edward Augustus.“The Rise of the Dutch Republic: A History.” North British, 25, no. 50: (August 1856): 376–98.
        Discusses the political and religious history of the Dutch republic using the work of John Lothrop Motley as a starting point. States that this work is lively, interesting, instructive, and well sourced and researched. Also states that Motley’s style is excellent: clear, vivid, and eloquent. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Kingsley, Charles.“A History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth.” North British, 26, no. 51: (November 1856): 72–106.
        Discusses the construction of English history by various historians, then moves on to J. A. Froude’s book. States that this work’s best feature is that Froude connects with his historical characters better than any historian of the past, by demonstrating human motives and passions. Also states that Froude’s work is patient and good tempered when it comes to research. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Stebbing, William.“History of England, from the Peace of Utrecht to the Peace of Versailles, 1713-1783.” North British, 28, no. 55: (February 1858): [3]-33.
        This review of the fifth edition of Philip Henry Stanhope’s ‘able’ work discusses the content of a book dedicated to the political and religious history of England between 1713 and 1783. Publisher is John Murray.
O’Connell, James.“An Inquiry into the Credibility of Early Roman, History.” North British, 28, no. 54: (May 1858): [287]-312.
        Discusses the methods and theories involved in the study of Roman history. Lengthy discussion of the influence and benefits Niebuhr’s methods compared to those of others, followed by the methods and content of this book by G. Cornwall Lewis. Attribution Wellesley Index.
“History of Civilization in England.” North British, 29, no. 58: (November 1858): 556–58.
        States that Buckle’s work does not warrant a full review due to its questionable merit, then briefly adds that it demonstrates the author’s lack of knowledge on various subjects and omits valuable subject matter. Also his writing is slovenly and egotistical and overall he is not a profound thinker. Publisher is Parker and Son.
Kelton (Mrs).“History of Frederick II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great.” North British, 30, no. 59: (February 1859): 22–43.
        States that Thomas Carlyle’s biography is well-written; opinions within it are well thought out, honest and independent, and Carlyle answers his proposed questions well with good analysis. Adds that not only is Carlyle a great historian, he is also a poet. Publisher is Chapman and Hall, 1858. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Tulloch, John.“The Life of John Milton, Narrated in Connexion with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of His Time.” North British, 30, no. 60: (May 1859): [281]-308.
        Examines the content of David Masson’s biography, including Milton’s influences and writing style, then moves on to discuss the historical context. States that this book is full and elaborate on the history of religion, politics, and literature with a minute biography of Milton. Also states that it was clearly laborious, is judiciously and well-written. Attribution Wellesley Index.
“The Third Part of the Ecclesiastical History of John, Bishop of Ephesus.” North British, 31, no. 61: (August 1859): 56–71.
        W. Cureton has prepared an edition of this work , published 1853 by Oxford University Press. The book focuses primarily on the period of Justinian and Tiberius. The reviewer notes that Cureton ably put the book together from the material available.
Hine, J. (Rev).“Secret History of the Austrian Government, and of Its Systematic Persecutions of Protestants.” North British, 32, no. 63: (February 1860): 90–125.
        Recommends this narrative of the Austrian court from the accession of Ferdinand II, by Alfred Michiels, to English readers. The book is intended for general readers and is interesting, but also biased, lacks style in its writing, and expands too much on certain topics and not enough on others. Published 1859 by Chapman and Hall. Attribution (unclear) Wellesley Index.
Fairbairn, Patrick.“Sunday: Its Origin, History, and Present Obligation; Considered in Eight Lectures, Preached before the University of Oxford in the Year 1860, on the Foundation of the Late Rev. John Bampton, M.A.” North British, 34, no. 67: (February 1861): 218–38.
        Discusses the content of this work, by James Augustus Hessey, listing its successes and failures, and stating that it contains no original or fresh material. Also discusses the usefulness of the Bampton lectures in general. Published by John Murray. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Lancaster, Henry Hill.“History of the United Netherlands, from the Death of William the Silent to the Synod of Dort; with a Full View of the English-Dutch Struggle against Spain, and of the Origin and Destruction of the Spanish Armada.” North British, 34, no. 68: (May 1861): 428–51.
        States that John Lothrop Motley’s two-volume narrative of the Netherlands in the sixteenth century is entertaining and instructive. It presents the characters elaborately and vividly as the author has the rare ability to sympathize with his subjects. Also observes that it is extensively researched, presents findings clearly and powerfully, and is written with feeling and fervour. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Smith, Walter Chalmers.“History of Civilisation in England.” North British, 35, no. 69: (August 1861): 253–88.
        Offers a discussion of the content of the second volume of Thomas Henry Buckle’s book, examining its omissions. States that Buckle is often one sided and notes that his work contains elements of truth but not the whole truth. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Tulloch, John.“Lectures on the History of the Eastern Church; with an Introduction on the Study of Ecclesiastical History.” North British, 35, no. 69: (August 1861): 82–106.
        Author is Arthur Penryhn Stanley; reviewer notes that the book is not a continuous and complete history but is nevertheless interesting, instructive, and pleasant. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Downes, John.“History of the Life and Times of Edmund Burke.” North British, 35, no. 70: (November 1861): 445–79.
        States that Thomas Macknight’s book is the best biography of Burke to appear; it is full and complete, candid and unbiased. Goes on the offer a detailed account of the work’s content. Publisher is Chapman and Hall, 1858-1860. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Lancaster, Henry Hill.“History of Friedrich II of Prussia, Called Frederick the Great.” North British, 43, no. 85: (September 1865): 79–126.
        Reviewer focuses mostly on Thomas Carlyle’s style, approach, and presentation, rather than the content of the work. States that this book is beautiful, commanding, well-researched, and clearly and simply written. Although reviewer does point out that in this work Carlyle has lost some of the skills for which his work was admired in the past, including tolerance and sympathy for his characters. Publisher is Chapman and Hall, 1864. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Macdonell, James.“History of Civilisation in England.” North British, 47, no. 94: (December 1867): 359–403.
        This review of H. T. Buckle’s most recent volume focuses on the concepts of morality and ethics in law, religion, and society by looking at the author’s theories and ideas and discussing the thoughts of other scholars, often picking apart Buckle’s theories and calling them ‘fruitless speculation.’ Publisher is Longman. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Merivale, Charles.“History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne.” North British, 50, no. 100: (July 1869): 381–405.
        Examines W.E.H. Lecky’s history of morals, noting that Lecky’s biggest problem is his inability to distinguish between history and philosophy; also notes the lack of connection between parallel concepts throughout the work. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Sigerson, George.“History of Irish Land Tenures.” North British, 51, no. 102: (January 1870): 435–77.
        This article examines Irish Land tenures and the corresponding bills and legislation from the 11th to the early 19th century. Examines the interaction between the British and the Irish, the legal and social issues that arose throughout this history, and how political, religious and social issues influenced land reforms and tenure. Attribution Wellesley Index.
Sigerson, George.“History of Irish Education.” North British, 53, no. 106: (January 1871): 479–523.
        Article discusses the evolution of the education system in Ireland from 3rd to 18th century, looking at high levels of education. Examines the influence of political, religious, and social issues and discusses Trinity College, Dublin University, and Queens University extensively. Attribution Wellesley Index.