The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume X. The Age of Johnson.
§ 8. Robert Henrys History of England
The works of Hume and Robertson seem to have excited other Scotsmen to write history. “I believe,” Hume wrote in 1770, “this is the true historical age and this the historical nation: I know no less than eight Histories on the stocks in this country.” The letter which begins with these words refers especially to a History of England by Robert Henry, an Edinburgh minister, in six volumes, of which the first appeared in 1771, and which ends with the death of Henry VIII. It is arranged under various headings, as political and military affairs, religion, commerce, and so forth; and its interest lies in the assertion, already, though not so strongly, made in Hume’s History, that history is concerned with all sides of social life in the past. It is mainly written from second-hand authorities and is inordinately dull. Nevertheless, its comprehensiveness made it popular: it brought its author £3300 and a crown pension of £100 and was translated into French.