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Memoirs of the Public and Private Life of William Penn. By Thomas Clarkson,
M. A. With a Preface, by W. E. Forster. London: C. Gilpin. 1849. .
Clarkson's “ Memoirs of William Penn" It is scarcely within our province to trace is a work now so familiar to all readers of the circumstances of the early association of biography, and the life of Penn is so much a the Macaulays—father and son—with the matter of history, that but little could be i Society of Friends; to enter into the details found for the critic of to-day to notice in this of a contested election for Edinburgh, in volume, were it not for the copious Preface which the said “Friends” took an unusually from the pen of Mr. Forster. This gentle active part; in which Thomas Babington man appears to refute, in a neat and mas- Macaulay suffered an ignominious defeat, as terly manner, the aspersions cast on the it was said, mainly in consequence of the excharacter of Penn by that most amusing, ertions of the said “Friends:” still less shall most pungent, most romantic of historians,
we attempt to trace any connection between Thomas Babington Macaulay. Novelists and this defeat and the curiously elaborate and essayists are, as a rule, bad historians. The most painfully caustic attack which Thomas admirable limner of Edward Waverley proved Babington Macaulay now makes on the Sohimself but a sorry historian of Napoleon ciety of Friends, through one of their mem. Bonaparte. The reason is obvious. The bers, whose memory has ever been cherished brilliant fancy which could depict in glowing by that Society with the fondest marks of colors an imaginary hero, absolutely distorted approbation and esteem. We shall deal the figure of a short, thick-set, hard-headed, only with the details before us, and that as self-willed, far-sighted, and energetic piece briefly as the subject will permit. of mortality like the Emperor Napoleon ; Mr. Macaulay's attack on William Penn whose deeds, whether viewed with approba- does not consist simply of a few heavy accution or censure, are so many stern, dry, re-sations and an accompanying censure. Penn's gistered facts, engraved on adamant for the supposed infamy is introduced to the notice teaching of all posterity.
of the reader with a show of great reluctance; VOL XXI. NO. IV.