Michael Linton's Bayeux Tapestry: 1066 - A Medieval Mosaic and Puzzles
HER MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY
OUR SOVEREIGN LADY QUEEN VICTORIA,
The Lives of
The Queens of England
COMPILED FROM OFFICIAL RECORDS AND OTHER AUTHENTIC DOCUMENTS, PRIVATE AS WELL AS PUBLIC, BY AGNES STRICKLAND.
PRECEDED BY A BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION BY JOHN FOSTER KIRK. IN SIXTEEN VOLUMES. WITH PLATES.
Philadelphia: Printed only for Subscribers by George Barrie & Son.
This electronic edition
was prepared by
Michael A. Linton, 2006
Few historical works have ever acquired a popularity so immediate and continuous as that of the "Lives of the Queens of England." Published originally in twelve volumes (London, 1840-48), it ran quickly through several editions, of one of which alone, that of 1864-5, in six volumes, more than eleven thousand copies were sold. The first American reprint appeared in Philadelphia almost simultaneously with the original publication in England. Subsequent issues have conformed to the text of the revised editions, published in 1852, 1854, and subsequently, in eight volumes, and illustrated with portraits of all the queens. On both sides of the Atlantic the book has still a steady sale, and copies in public libraries are in frequent request. The attractiveness of the subject, as well as of the treatment, has always commended it to a far wider class of readers than those who take a special interest in historical studies; while the fulness of its details and the labor expended in its preparation have ensured it against rivalry in the field which it was the first to occupy.
The work destined to attain to this fortunate position was the composition of two maiden ladies, daughters of Thomas Strickland, of Reydon Hall, near Southwold, Suffolk, and of his second wife, Elizabeth Homer. The elder sister, born in 1794, and named after her mother, had an equal share with the younger in the execution of the work; but her invincible aversion to publicity led her, in this, as in other instances, to refuse to allow her name to appear cm the title page. [The biographies written by Elizabeth occupy somewhat less space than those by Agnes, but exceed them in number. They are those of Adelicia of Louvaine, Eleanora of Aquitaine, Berengaria of Navarre, Isabella of Angouleme, Marguerite of France, Philippa of Hainault, Anne of Bohemia, Eleanora of Castile, Isabella of Valois, Katherine of Valois, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne of Warwick, Elizabeth of York, Katharine of Arragon, Jane Seymour, Mary Tudor, Anne of Denmark, Henrietta Maria, Mary II., Queen Regnant, and Anne, Queen Regnant.] Hence the credit and responsibility of the achievement have been usually assigned to Agnes, despite her own acknowledgment of her sister's collaboration. She is the "Miss Strickland" who is commonly spoken of as the author of the work, and this is, in a measure, justified by the fact that it owed its inception to her, and that she took the more active part in securing the opportunities for research necessary for its successful accomplishment.
Born in London on the 19th of August, 1796, Agnes Strickland was the second of a family of nine children, four of whom, besides Elizabeth and herself, became known as authors. [These were Jane Margaret (1800-1888) who, besides some books for children, wrote the "Life of Agnes Strickland," and "Rome Republican and Regal: a Family History of Rome;" Mrs. Susanna Moodie (1803-1885) who published several novels, but is better known by the spirited account of her Canadian life entitled "Roughing it in the Bush;" Samuel (1809-1867), whose "Twenty-seven Years in Canada West" embodied much information valuable to intending colonists; and Mrs. Catharine Parr Traill (b. 1802) and still living in (1899) the list of whose publications includes juvenile and other stories, descriptions of Canadian life and scenery, and an illustrated work entitled "Studies of Plant Life; or, Floral Gleanings by Forest, Lake, and Plain." Ottawa. 1885.] Their early taste for literature was derived from and encouraged by their father, who took the chief part in the education of his elder daughters, and incited and directed them especially in the pursuit of historical and antiquarian studies. Unhappily, he did not live to witness the fruit of his labors. He died in 1818 of gout—a disease from which he had long suffered at intervals, and the final attacks of which were aggravated by mental distress arising from the loss of the greater part of his fortune.
We are told that this change of circumstances led the two sisters to engage in literature as a means of support. They were not, however, without independent resources, and their joint career of authorship did not begin till many years later, after Agnes had made some not very successful attempts in poetry, the first that appeared in book form being a metrical romance entitled "Worcester Field, or the Cavalier," published in 1827, which was followed in the same year by "The Seven Ages of Woman and other Poems." Better fortune attended the first ventures in prose of the sisters working in conjunction, though then, as always afterwards, under a single name. These were some books for the young, two of which, "Historical Tales of Illustrious British Children" (1833), and "Tales and Stories from History" (two volumes, 1836), passed through several editions, and were reprinted in America. Two works by Agnes, "Demetrius," a poem, and "The Pilgrims of Walsingham," a series of tales of the Middle Ages, in three volumes, were published respectively in 1833 and 1835; but neither of these brought any increase of reputation, nor did her productions or those of her sister at this period indicate the power to grapple with important themes or to win the ear of the general public.
But now a happy inspiration, favored by circumstances, opened the way to a sudden and great success. In 1837, Elizabeth Strickland was editing the "Court Journal," to which she contributed some short biographies of female sovereigns. Agnes thereupon conceived the idea of an elaborate work, to bear the title of "Memoirs of the Queens of England from the Norman Conquest." The moment was propitious. The accession to the throne of a youthful princess had just taken place, and had been hailed throughout the British dominions with demonstrations of sympathy and attachment far exceeding the ordinary professions of loyalty on such occasions. Application was made for permission to dedicate the intended work to the Queen, and this having been graciously accorded, the fact was announced when, in 1839, the first volume was ready for the press. The title thus prematurely made public was immediately appropriated by another writer, whose "Historical Memoirs of the Queens of England from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century" in two volumes, appeared in December of the same year. The Stricklands were at first dismayed on seeing their project apparently forestalled, and Agnes was inclined to abandon it. Elizabeth, however, insisted on its prosecution, while suggesting the change of title to one that was an obvious improvement on that which had been originally adopted. Nor was there, in fact, any occasion for discouragement. The work of their would-be rivals attracted little attention; it never reached a second edition, and the name of the author, Miss Hannah Lawrance, is now chiefly noticeable for her long life, which extended from 1795 to 1895.
The task to which the sisters had devoted themselves was undertaken with a full comprehension of the labor it involved, and their plan was formed in a true historical spirit sufficiently rare at that time. Their early training had habituated them to the work of investigation, and the conspicuous characters and events of English history in particular had filled their memories and excited their imaginations. Agnes, while still in her teens, had read and re-read the ponderous folios of Rapin and similar now forgotten works; and, less propitiously for the proper execution of their present task, both sisters had imbibed from their reading a passionate sentiment in favor of the House of Stewart, despite the opposite opinion of their father, who was a strong admirer of William III. and the Revolution. But in this respect they shared the common feeling of a time when Jacobitism, though extinct as a practical political principle, had been revived as a sentimental creed through the popularity of the Waverley novels.
It was on Agnes, as already mentioned, that the duty devolved of obtaining access to the depositaries, public and private, where materials of the kind required might be found; and for this she was the better fitted by her social instincts and personal attractiveness. She was tall, finely formed and singularly graceful, with a face, which if not beautiful, was handsome and expressive. [There are two portraits of her—one painted in 1846, which is now in the National Portrait Gallery, the other of a much later date. The former was engraved in London in 1850, and in Philadelphia, by Sartain, in 1857, and forms the frontispiece to the standard editions of the "Lives of the Queens." It confirms the description of her by her sister as having a pale complexion and black eyes and hair.] The poet Campbell, with whom she had an interview during a short stay in London, in 1827 (when she had also the pleasure of shaking hands with Sir Walter Scott), described her to his friends as "a lovely, interesting creature, full of genius and sensibility." From the time when she became generally known, she was a welcome guest in high social circles, and a frequent visitor at country houses, while the regard in which she was held is further attested by her many close and enduring friendships with persons of culture and distinction. The relations thus formed did much to facilitate the prosecution of her historical researches. When a first application for permission to examine the manuscripts in the State Paper Office was rejected by Lord John Russell, powerful influence was brought to bear, with the result that the sisters obtained separate orders granting them all the facilities they required. Among the private archives and collections which were promptly and freely opened to their inspection were those of the Duke of Devonshire, of Sir Thomas Phillips, of Middle Hill, of the Howards of Corby Castle, and of the Stricklands of Sizergh, an ancient family with which their own claimed a connection which seems to have been admitted, though it is said to be unsupported by direct documentary evidence.
A reception not less favorable was accorded to them in France, which they visited together in 1844, for the purpose of consulting and transcribing unpublished documents, especially in reference to Mary of Modena, the wife of James II., whose years of exile with her husband were passed at St. Germains. The interest of Guizot, then premier, had already been enlisted by the high opinion he had formed of their work from the volumes already published. He granted them a long interview, and furnished them with introductions which procured them admission to the Archives du Royaume and the Archives des Affaires Etrangeres. Other distinguished persons, archivists and scholars, among them Miguet, Michelet, Champollion, and Dumont, gave them valuable assistance, especially by causing search to be made for documents connected with the subject of their investigation. A letter from Agnes gives this account of their first visit to Michelet at the Hotel Soubise, where the national archives are preserved:
"We were received by him with great courtesy; and he told us that the employees in the Archives had succeeded in finding a little regarding our purpose. We were then introduced to a room adjoining his own, and presented with three packets, all in the well-known hand of the Queen of James II. These letters were ostensibly supposed only to consist of her correspondence with Madame Priolo, the Superior of the Convent of Chaillot, but they really contained other matters of great interest. Soon after, a considerable manuscript was brought to us containing anecdotes of her life. Then within the packets we found not only the will of this princess, but a most precious narrative of her escape, and the names of the ladies who quitted England with her and shared her exile—Lady Strickland being the one first mentioned by her royal mistress. I showed the name to M. Michelet, who made us a low bow, partly to us and partly to the name of our relative, and said, 'C'est une circonstance tres in-teressante,' as indeed it was. We set to work for two hours in good earnest, to the evident surprise of the French officials."
Before the completion of the "Lives of the Queens of England," the Stricklands were already planning another work, demanding almost an equal amount of labor, the chief part of which was undertaken by Agnes. At an early period she had become deeply interested in the story of that Scottish Queen around whose name and fateful career has raged a more heated and prolonged controversy, with stronger manifestations of sympathy and admiration on the one side and of aversion and execration on the other, than can be paralleled in the case of any other woman. On which side Miss Strickland would array herself could not be a matter of doubt, and the further she extended her researches the more ardent became her championship of the ill-starred queen. She began by collecting, translating and editing, with an historical introduction and notes, "Letters of Mary, Queen of Scots, illustrative of her Personal History, now first published from the Originals." The first edition, in three volumes, appeared in 1842-3; the second, in two volumes, in the latter year; while a complete and final one, in five volumes, was issued in 1864. The labor connected with this work was preparatory to a fuller biography of Mary than any that existed, while the success of the "Queens of England" naturally suggested the preparation of a companion series. The work, however, took a range beyond the limits originally intended, being entitled "Lives of the Queens of Scotland and English Princesses connected with the Royal Succession of Great Britain." It was published in 1851-59, in eight volumes, five of which were devoted to Mary Stuart, and were, with some of the minor biographies, the work of Agnes alone. [Elizabeth's share in this series comprised the lives of Margaret Tudor, Countess of Lenox, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bavaria, and Sophia, Electress of Hanover.]
Three other joint productions remain to be mentioned—"Lives of the Bachelor Kings of England" "Lives of the Seven Bishops who were committed to the Tower in 1688" and "Lives of the Tudor Princesses, including Lady Jane Grey and her Sisters"—published respectively, each in one volume, in 1861, 1866, and 1868. Another book of the same character, "Lives of the Last Four Princesses of the Royal House of Stuart" published in 1872, was the work of Agnes alone, and was the last production of her prolific pen. In the intervals between her more important publications she had issued three which require to be mentioned merely as completing the list. These are, "Historic Scenes and Poetic Fancies," 1850; "Old Friends and New Acquaintances" (two series), 1860, and "How Will It End?" a novel in three volumes, which appeared in 1865 and came to a second edition in the same year.
The merit and attractiveness of the "Lives of the Queens of England" do not consist in the features which, singly or in combination, characterize the works of highly accomplished historians, such as grace or distinction of style, vigor of thought, or brilliant expositions of the causes and course of great political movements. On the other hand, in respect to wide and minute research, the Stricklands stand on a level with, or above, most of the distinguished writers who have dealt with the same periods of English history; and the result is a wealth of detail, illustrative of character and manners, lying for the most part outside the compass or the scope of ordinary histories. Often, no doubt, the incidents seem trivial, partaking of the character of anecdotical gossip. But even these have an interest for all but the severer class of readers, while the total effect is a reproduction of the life of the past, the early lack of which in strictly historical narratives gave rise to that hybrid, though often highly attractive, form of literature, the historical romance.
It must be admitted that this effect is gained less by any graphic power in the presentation of the facts than by the copious extracts from letters, reported conversations, and other contemporaneous documents, so continuously interwoven with the narrative. This method of writing is sometimes objected to as inartistic, being incompatible with the harmonious impression to be derived from a mode of treatment by which the material is so re-moulded as to preserve a continuity of style. But, after all, the proper object of a narrative of historical events is to inspire the reader with a sense of their reality, and it is undeniable that this is often impaired by a process of modelling which excites admiration by its uniform brilliancy and skill. Thus the stately periods of Gibbon, abounding as they do in information and unfolding in their well-ordered sequence the progressive development of his momentous theme, leave us nevertheless conscious of a lack, the nature of which will be better apprehended if we turn to the less ambitious work of Mr. Hodgkin, "Italy and its Invaders," which, largely by means of its excerpts from the original sources, enables us to get a vivid idea of many a personage and scene that on the pages of the more famous historian makes no such appeal to our imagination. So, too, when Macaulay, in rhetorically balanced sentences, reports the arguments of different speakers at the Council-board or in Parliament, the consummate art with which this is done does not disguise the fact that the utterances have undergone a transmutation, that their characteristic form has been effaced, that we are listening, not to Halifax or Shrewsbury, but to Macaulay himself. However much we may admire, we are under no illusion. Though the hand be that of Esau, the voice is clearly that of Jacob.
The method adopted by the Stricklands was the only one by which they, at least, could have accomplished work of real utility and established a solid reputation. They would never have achieved this success if they had clothed all the material they so industriously collected in their own language—in a form, that is to say, requiring weightier qualities than they possessed to gain acceptance either from the student or from the general reader. On the other hand it was not by the mere accumulation and reproduction of original material, such as a Dry as dust might have made, that they won the approbation of either class. Whatever their demerits in other respects, they were guided in the selection of their extracts by a true and fine perception of what would best illustrate the characters, actions and surroundings of their heroines; while the connecting links of the narrative are not in general such as to detract from the effect.
Of contemporaneous testimonies to the interest and value of the work, it is sufficient to cite those of three historians, of different nations, each eminent in his own field. Guizot, in acknowledging the reception of the first two volumes of the "Lives of the Queens of England," writes to Agnes in 1840, "I have read them, Mademoiselle, with lively pleasure. It is a charming work. You have studied from the source, and presented your facts singularly exempt from dryness. My perusal being finished, I have sent your book to my daughters ... who will read them in their turn with the lively pleasure natural to their age." Lingard, who was then engaged in the revision of his "History of England," wrote about the same time to Mr, Howard, of Corby, "I have snatched a few moments now and then to read Miss Strickland's work, which you have had the kindness to send me. It afforded me great pleasure, bringing to my recollection many anecdotes which I had forgotten, and making me acquainted with many that I had never met with—at least as far as I can recollect ... I should say that Miss Strickland's promises to be a very favourite book, particularly among the ladies ... I am happy that she has become a sister of the craft, and that she will do honour to the body." Several years later, in the preface to the new edition of his work, after acknowledging his indebtedness to the editors of various documentary collections recently issued, he adds: "There remains, however, one name that shall not be passed over in silence,—that of a female writer, Miss Agnes Strickland, whose claim to the distinction is of a different kind, and peculiarly her own,—the discovery of a new mine of historic lore previously unexplored; a mine which she has also worked with great success in those attractive volumes, her 'Lives of the Queens of England.'" Finally, Prescott, in a note in his "History of Philip the Second," writes, "Miss Strickland's interesting volumes are particularly valuable to the historian for the copious extracts they contain from curious unpublished documents, which had escaped the notice of writers too exclusively occupied with political events to give much heed to details of a domestic and personal nature." Prescott had, in fact, listened with avidity to the reading of the volumes comprising the Lives of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth, finding in them abundant matter of a kind that gratified a taste which he shared with the authors and with the general mass of readers, as well as aids in the special study in which he was then engaged. It was not his way to leave such a service unacknowledged, or to speak condescendingly of those who had rendered it. In 1850, when visiting the tombs in Westminster Abbey, in company with Dean Milman, the historian Hallam, Lady Lyell, and others, he cited Miss Strickland as an authority in regard to facts connected with the subject of one of the monuments, turning to the present writer to confirm his recollection; and, when Lady Lyell smilingly demurred to his estimation of an authoress whom probably no one else in the company ranked quite so high, he repeated it with at least as much warmth as he was in the habit of showing in the defence of his opinions.
The diligence of the Stricklands in their search for and examination of historical manuscripts is the worthier of commemoration from the fact that, at the time when they entered the field, little had been done in England by the government or by learned societies to smooth the path of the explorer. The first volume of the Camden Society's publications appeared in 1838, and it was not till thirty years later that the printing began of the great series of state papers and other documents still in course of issue under the supervision of the Master of the Rolls. Moreover, the public repositories of historical manuscripts were often in a state of confusion, and few students, except mere antiquarians and genealogists sought access to them. In short, as regarded English history, the era of investigation which has since had so active a reign, can scarcely be said to have commenced. Hume, whose History of England was still the standard work on the subject, had been notoriously indolent in the matter of research. Lingard, though as superior to his predecessor in learning and industry as he was his inferior in literary skill, made no personal explorations in public or private archives, contenting himself with such transcripts of manuscripts as were furnished him by others, chiefly from the Library of the Vatican. One person, indeed, Sir James Mackintosh, had projected a History of England based on thorough research, and partly by his own labor, partly through the contributions of a great number of representatives of historical families, had accumulated a mass of manuscript material filling, when arranged, fifty volumes, of which Macaulay has written, "I have never seen, and I do not believe that there anywhere exists, within the same compass, so noble a collection of extracts from public and private archives." But it was not Mackintosh, but Macaulay himself who ultimately utilized this collection, and the first fruits of his labor did not appear till after the publication of the "Lives of the Queens of England." It need scarcely be added that the names of Froude, Freeman, Green, and Gardiner were at that time unknown in connection with the study of English history.
The Stricklands are therefore justly to be ranked among the earliest pioneers in a field which has since been so extensively cultivated. It seems, indeed, not too much to say that they were the first writers on English history having in view the general mass of readers who recognized the necessity of going to the primary sources of information, and bringing the greatest possible amount of light to bear upon the subject which they had undertaken to treat. And besides working assiduously in the State Paper Office, the library of the British Museum, the Bodleian library at Oxford, and the muniment rooms of private castles, they availed themselves in a greater degree than was then common of opportunities to visit localities associated with the scenes and events they were to describe. Agnes, especially, spent much time in this way, and her enthusiasm in the pursuit reached its acme when she turned from the study of the English queens to that of Mary Stuart. In repeated visits to Scotland and the north of England she seems to have traversed all the ground which her heroine had passed over, explored the palaces and castles where she had resided as a sovereign or languished as a captive, and mused with reverence and pity over the extant relics of her grandeur and her misfortunes. Everywhere she met not only with the guidance and assistance she required, but with the most hospitable entertainment, and the fatigues of travel and research were exceeded by those of social festivities. In a letter from Lennoxlove, the abode of her friend Lady Blantyre, she speaks of an interval of "blessed rest"—"for," she adds, "though there has been company all the week, and more are coming next, I have been able to work my difficult chapters, and to nurse my bad cold. I write, too, in my own room, by a good fire, till one. Then take a long stroll in the lovely gardens and park, then work again after lunch-time."
Her way of life was, it must be owned, very different from that of the student who, wholly absorbed in his work, shuts himself up in seclusion. She had herself an opportunity of observing the contrast when she passed a few days at Brougham Castle, where the famous ex-chancellor, then immersed in scientific researches, seldom left his own apartment till dinner time, when he showed himself morose and irritable. With Agnes Strickland, a frequent participation in the functions and gayeties of society, instead of being a mere distraction or even a necessary stimulant to her work, was its natural accompaniment. Her tastes in this direction and her fondness for witnessing scenes of pageantry and pomp might be reckoned among her qualifications for depicting the ceremonial life of former ages. What more natural or legitimate than that she who had to describe so many coronations should eagerly avail herself of an opportunity to be present at that of the youthful Victoria? After her presentation at court, she was a regular attendant at the "drawing-rooms," whether held by the queen in person or by one of the princesses. At a ball at the vice-regal lodge in Dublin, in 1861, the Prince of Wales, in whose honor it was given, desired that she should be introduced to him, and expressed the pleasure he had derived from her books, though, speaking of the "Bachelor Kings," he assured her he "did not mean to be one." Nor was the recognition of her role as the historiographer of female royalty confined to persons of exalted station. When, in 1865, she was present at the Oxford "Commemoration," in the Sheldonian Theatre, the undergraduates saluted her on her entrance, with shouts of "The Queens! The Queens! Three cheers for the Queens!"
But it is time to turn from the record of the praises and honors thus lavished upon her to the adverse criticism of which she was also the object. Some of this may be dismissed without scrutiny, as obviously dictated by the jealousy and spite provoked by her sudden access of popularity. It is different with the charge most frequently brought against her, that of a lack of impartiality—a strong and prevailing bias in favor of the House of Stuart, and an unfair treatment of its opponents. There are, it is true, few historical writers who have not been subject to similar imputations, and the spirit of partizanship has, in the common opinion, betrayed itself as clearly on the opposite side in the works of Macaulay and Froude. Nor has the censure in her case been altogether unqualified. In an elaborate article on the "Lives of the Queens of England," in the "Edinburgh Review," the writer, after remarking that "to all the princes of the unhappy house of Stuart, Miss Strickland bears true and indiscriminate allegiance," and that "not even the coarse absurdities of James I. can exhaust her benevolent interest for his credit," goes on to observe: "Her love and veneration for his unfortunate son [Charles I] are more intelligible feelings; and we are bound to say that she has but rarely suffered them to betray her into approbation or defence of his political misconduct."
It was, however, in her Life of the Queen of Scots that she revealed herself completely as an impassioned advocate and eulogist. Mary is, with her, simply a victim, the innocent, pitiable, adorable victim of Scottish conspiracy and English statecraft. Apart from Miss Strickland's political prepossessions, all her feminine instincts were aroused in defense of a woman so beautiful, so accomplished, at once so high-spirited and so full of graciousness and charm, who in a time of settled order and tranquillity might have reigned a very queen of hearts, but who, placed by fate in a centre of turbulence and fierce conflicting factions, walked ever among pitfalls, and after an unparalleled series of adventures and calamities, throughout which she bore herself, if not wisely, yet courageously, received at last her death-warrant from the royal kinswoman to whom she had fled for protection. There are not many persons at the present day who take this one-sided view of Mary's career, regarding all her misfortunes as unmerited and ail her adversaries as criminals. Yet there are probably still fewer who are content to abide by the harsh verdict of Froude, who, pursues her with obloquy and contempt down to her death upon the scaffold, and dismisses her at last with the curt and summary pronouncement that "she was a bad woman." That she was accessory to the murder of Darnley and that she plotted against Elizabeth are points that seem no longer to admit of dispute. But when one remembers the circumstances of her education, the character of the age, the perils and the temptations that surrounded her, and the insults and outrages that were heaped upon her, it seems to need the robust conscience of the wholesale apologist of Henry the Eighth to cast unmeasured condemnation on poor Mary Stuart. It remains only to add that from an imputation which is often coupled with the charge of partizanship, that of suppressing or garbling evidence, the Stricklands are entirely exempt.
During the most active period of their joint authorship the sisters, though they passed much of their time in London or the neighborhood for the convenience of their work, had their permanent home with their mother, at Reydon Hall. But in 1865, Mrs. Strickland having died, in her ninety-second year, Agnes leased a house, "Park Lane Cottage," in Southwold—a pleasant little town on the coast of Suffolk—while Elizabeth went to reside at Bayswater, near Kensington Gardens, removing some years later to a small property which she had purchased, "Abbot's Lodge," near Tilford, Surrey. At the outset of their career they had been very inadequately remunerated for their labors, owing to an unfortunate contract with Colburn, the original publisher of the "Lives of the Queens of England." After his death, in 1863, Agnes repurchased the copyright for 1862 15s. 6d.—a somewhat larger sum than he had paid for it—and her subsequent arrangements with other publishers—the Longmans, Bell and Daldy, and the Blackwoods, who published the "Lives of the Queens of Scotland"—seem to have been mutually satisfactory. In 1870, having met with some pecuniary losses, she received from Mr. Gladstone a notice that she had been granted a pension of 100 a year. At this period, though now seventy-four years old, her literary activity had suffered little or no abatement, and her visits to different places, whether for historical investigation or for social purposes were still not infrequent. In 1869 she went to the Hague, to examine the archives in connection with her work on the Stuart princesses, and while there had a long interview with the queen (Sophia Frederica) of Holland, one of the most accomplished women of her time and especially versed in the study of history. After the completion of this book she prepared a revised edition of her life of Mary Stuart, which appeared, in two volumes, in 1873. But her labors had already been cut short by a disastrous accident. In June, 1872, while descending a staircase, she fell and fractured her right leg just above the ankle. Paralysis supervened; and though she recovered sufficiently to be able to take short walks supported by her maid and by a stick, her speech remained impaired, her handwriting became almost illegible, and her intellectual faculties were perceptibly clouded. She lingered for over two years, dying serenely, after an apparent clearing of her mind, on the 13th of July, 1874, when she had nearly completed her seventy-eighth year. The sister who bad been the companion of her labors did not long survive her; she died at the age of eighty, on the 30th of April, 1875.
The career of these two women was useful and honorable, and their lives were, on the whole, singularly happy, made so chiefly by absorption in a pursuit well-suited to their tastes, and, in all essential respects, to their powers. Whatever deduction may be made on grounds already mentioned, the value and interest of their most important work are such as to entitle it to a high place among similar productions—we may even say a unique place among those of writers of the same sex. If we detect in it the same lack of breadth and grasp of thought which is characteristic of the works of earlier and contemporaneous female historians, it is lifted far above them by its constant display of fresh and conscientious research, and if, on the other hand, there are some histories by female writers of the present day that bear the stamp of a trained scholarship, comprehensive study, and masculine vigor of treatment, these are works which only select readers can be expected to appreciate. The works of the Stricklands fill a niche of their own, of which they are not likely to be dispossessed. As a recent, not too friendly critic, remarks, they "contain pictures of the court, of society, and of domestic life not to be found elsewhere." [Article by Miss Elizabeth Lee, in the Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 59, p. 50.] Another living writer, whose own admirable studies in English history add weight to his judgment, says, in reference to Queen Elizabeth, "Miss Strickland's Life, with all its shortcomings, is the best personal memoir of the queen that has yet appeared." [Article by Rev. Augustus Jessop, Ibid., vol. 17, p. 231.] The statement would be equally true if extended to the other Lives in the same series. The work it may be safely said, will long continue to be read with pleasure and profit.
JOHN FOSTER KIRK.
Miss Strickland's text refers in places to illustrations which have been omitted in this edition, for the reason that the aim of the artist seems to have been to make a pretty drawing rather than an exact one.