The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

II. Historians, Biographers and Political Orators

§ 23. J. S. Brewer

Among historical scholars of mark whose original work was largely based on their labours at the Record office, John Sherren Brewer and James Gairdner should be mentioned together. The former, after having, in his earlier days, been subject to the influence of the Oxford movement, was much associated with F. D. Maurice, whom he succeeded in his chair at King’s college, London. He made his mark as a writer in connection with the earlier instalments of a work on which he remained engaged during the whole of the latter part of his life—the calendaring, for the Rolls series, of the state papers of Henry VIII, in a succession of volumes to which he furnished introductions, published posthumously as a separate work, The Reign of Henry VIII to the death of Wolsey, under the editorship of Gairdner. Brewer enjoyed a widespread reputation as a high-minded and trustworthy historian, and as an accomplished and many-sided man of letters. He did not profess to be writing a history of the reign of Henry VIII; but his few introductions, together, amount to what is much more than a digest of the transactions of the period—a survey of it by a writer of extensive reading and remarkably clear judgment. His editions of works of authors among whom are both Roger and Francis Bacon, and his ever-welcome contributions to The Quarterly Review, posthumously collected under the title English Studies, sufficiently exhibit the intellectual versatility of the least dry-as-dust of archivists.