Hallam's Constitutional History. Volumes I & II.

By Henry Hallam

Printed: 1842

Publisher: John Murray. London

Edition: fourth edition

Dimensions 15 × 22 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 15 x 22 x 4


Item information


Full tan calf binding. Gilt heraldic emblem with edge banding on all boards. Brown and green title plates with gilt ornate decoration on the spine.

A well preserved and still usable reference work.

The Constitutional History of England (1827) took up the subject at the point at which it had been dropped in Middle Ages, namely the accession of Henry VII, and carried it down to the accession of George III. Hallam stopped here because he was unwilling to touch on issues of contemporary politics which seemed to him to run back through the whole period of the reign of George III, but this did not prevent him from being accused of bias. The Quarterly Review for 1828 contains a hostile article on the Constitutional History, written by Robert Southey, full of reproach: the work, he said, is the “production of a decided partisan”. It was his distant treatment of Charles I, Thomas Cranmer and William Laud that provoked the indignation of Southey.

Hallam, like Thomas Babington Macaulay, ultimately referred political questions to the standard of Whig constitutionalism. But he was conscientious with his materials, and it was this which made the Constitutional History one of the standard textbooks of English politics.

Henry Hallam FRS FRSE FSA (9 July 1777 – 21 January 1859) was an English historian. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, he practised as a barrister on the Oxford circuit for some years before turning to history. His major works were View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages (1818), The Constitutional History of England (1827), and Introduction to the Literature of Europe, in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (1837). Although he took no part in politics himself, he was well acquainted with the band of authors and politicians who led the Whig party. In an 1828 review of Constitutional History, Robert Southey claimed that the work was biased in favour of the Whigs.

Hallam was a fellow of the Royal Society, and a trustee of the British Museum. In 1830 he received the gold medal for history founded by George IV.

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