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The Study Of Literature
English Literature Of The 19th Century:
 Third Or Later Victorian Period

 William Ewart Gladstone

 John Morley

 Historical Literature Of The Later Victorian Period

 Edward Augustus Freeman

 James Anthony Froude

 Sir Henry Sumner Maine

 William Edward Hartpole Lecky

 James Bryce

 John Addington Symonds

 Read More Articles About: English Literature Of The 19th Century

James Bryce

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Of the English philosophic historians none has been better known in the United States than James Bryce. His "American Commonwealth" (1888) was a revelation to Americans themselves of the true significance and value of their institutions. James Bryce is of Scotch-Irish descent, and was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1838. He was educated at Glasgow University and at Oxford, graduating in 1862 with high honor. His prize essay on "The Holy Roman Empire" (1864) raised him at once to high rank among historians. This valuable treatise first fully explained the importance of the imperial idea in the Middle Ages, and its lasting effect upon Italy and Germany. Bryce was made professor of civil law at Oxford in 1870. He spent his vacations in foreign travel, which gave him abundant material for contributions to magazines. In 1880 he was elected to Parliament as a Liberal, and in 1886 he was made Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Glad-stone's cabinet. His valuable work on the United States was the result of careful observation during three visits to this country. Compared with DeTocqueville's "Democracy in America," published fifty years earlier, it exhibits not only the astonishing growth of the nation, but its power of readjusting its institutions and laws to meet emergencies. Excellent as was the Frenchman's report, Bryce's work surpasses it in broad views and wealth of information. While he does not hesitate to point out defects, his general tone is that of admiration and sympathy. A curious result followed its publication. Having allowed Seth Low to write the chapter on Tammany rule in New York City, he was afterward prosecuted for libel by A. Oakey Hall, who had been mayor of New York, but was then resident in London. Bryce was convicted, and obliged to pay damages and cancel the offensive chapter.

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