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ly published, says, “ it is a most valuable acquisition, and will “ serve to counteract the mischief which Hume, Dalrymple,
Macpherson, Somerville, and some others of your country“ men have done. You will easily believe that I do not
class Hume with the others, except as to the bad tendency “ of their representations*.” The attack is commenced by an insinuation, that Mr. Fox had started with a prejudice against some other historians, besides Mr. Hume, (who is admitted to be a prerogative writer) from a general idea of their
toryism but without giving any reasons for his censure of “ them. Some of them,” Mr. Rose says, “he appears not to “ have read, characterising them without distinction under
one general description, whose principles of historical dis“ cussion seem to be entirely opposite. And in particular, if « Mr. Fox had ever read Somerville's History, he must have
strangely forgotten what he met with in it, to have classed “ him with Hume and other prerogative writers.”
Here we must repeat the remark that the passage, now criticized as part of Mr. Fox's work, iş a paragraph in private letter, written when his work was but just begun, and therefore, if he had been too indiscriminate in his censure,
or had not even read the works of the authors named, it does not follow that he did not afterwards read them, and acquire a more accurate knowledge of their respective merits. Mr. Rose's observation might be true, when the letter was written, and yet unfounded when the further progress of the Historical Work was interrupted by the duties of office, and subsequent sickness and death of the author.
Mr. Rose proceeds on the assumption that Mr. Fox had not read these writers, because he gives no reason for his censure. Upon referring to the passage, the reader will find two reasons expressly given, namely that they had “ done mischief,” and that their representations had a bad tendency. Hume and Macpherson, Mr. Rose himself acknowledges, may be reckoned amongst the tory writers, and he gives a reason why Dalrymple has been suspected to belong to them; but he struggles hard to preserve the zealous whig historian, Somerville, from so odious an imputation, and charges Mr. Fox, if he had ever read his history, with having strangely forgotten what he “ had met with in it, to have classed him with Hume, " and other prerogative writers *.” It turns out then at last, that Mr. Fox's observation is admitted to be well founded, as to all the authors he mentions except one, and supposing it is acknowledged in return that he was mistaken respecting him, it does not prove that Mr. Fox had a prejudice against writers, merely because they were suspected of toryism. The amount of the charge is that, in writing to a private friend, he inadvertently inserted a name, which if he had thought for a moment, (as he would have done if he had been writing his history) he might have omitted. Against such an error I am not solicitous to defend the memory of Mr. Fox.
* Mr. Rose's Introduction, p. xiii.
It might have happened to any man, and fortunate indeed would Mr. Rose have been even with his shield of official accuracy if he could defend himself as well from charges of more serious aspect. But we are not called upon to admit that there has been any mistake, for, notwithstanding Somerville was a whig, Mr. Fox may have disapproved of his history, and been deliberately of opinion that he ought to be placed in the class, from which Mr. Rose is so anxious to rescue him.
Another instance tending to shew the careless manner in which the Observations have been written, occurs respecting & quotation*, supposed to be made from Mr. Fox's work,
• Fox, p. vi.
respecting Lord Bolingbroke. It is stated to begin thus, “ Mr. Fox says · Bolingbroke in particular had confound«« ed, &c*. Here Mr. Rose has made two mistakes, for neither in the Historical Work nor in any published letter of Mr. Fox is this paragraph found, and the passage to which it is presumed allusion is made, for he has omitted to refer to it, contains no assertion, but an inference only. By turning to the sixth page of Lord Holland's preface, the reader will find that the words quoted were written by him, and contain only an inference which he, and not Mr. Fox, had drawn from his own observation. The sentence begins, “ it could not escape the observation of Mr. Fox, " that” &c.“ and that Lord Bolingbroke in particular had " confounded” &c. For the justness of the remark Lord Holland only is responsible, but the terms, in which it is expressed, preclude the idea of his intending to state positively that Mr. Fox entertained the opinion, he only infers that such must have been his opinion from the conviction impressed upon his own mind. This quotation serves as the Introduction to five pages of extraneous matter, consisting chiefly of what Mr. Rose had heard the late Lord Marchmont say, he had heard the late Lord
Mr. Rose's Introduction, p. xxvi.
Bolingbroke say. Under what influence or bias these mistakes were made it is not very material to inquire, but they do not exhibit a favourable view of the official accuracy, to be expected in the ensuing pages of the Work in question.
To Mr. Rose the acknowledgments of the public are due for the communication of Sir Patrick Hume's Narrative, but the friends of Mr. Fox have peculiar reason to rejoice at it, for that Narrative confirms in every particular the observations he has made upon Sir Patrick Hume's conduct. If Mr. Rose had been aware of this, he probably would not have published it, or at all events would not have declared the object of its publication to have been the vindication of the memory of Sir Patrick from charges, which it does not contradict, but support. Mr. Rose must possess a most delicate sensibility of nerves to have been affected, as he describes himself * to have been, at the perusal of the Historical Work; but whether he was actuated by the impulse of personal respect to Lord Marchmont's memory, or by the particular interest he felt in the story and character of his illustrious ancestor is not quite clear.
* Mr. Rose's Introduction, p. iii.