A FRENCH critic has given this just and lively criticism on our historian—
“Matthew Paris, an English Monk, is a good historian, if we except his Visions, and his Apparitions, with which his work is crouded. This is his worst side. But in those times, when they wrote history, it was as essential to recount a number of miracles, as it is in the present day to reject them; unless they are introduced to raise a laugh.”
“Matthew Paris is, however, sincere, and frank; and, without labouring at delineating the portraits of his heroes, he presents us with all the ideas which are necessary to be given. And this is more pleasing to me, than that vile affectation of continually drawing elaborate portraits; the great number of which disgust, and render the veracity of the author frequently suspected.”
Will not this last censure fall heavy on the characters which Smollet has given us at the conclusion of every reign of our monarchs? Does not the author more frequently delineate the image of Imagination, than that of historic Truth?