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

§ 35. P. F. Tytler

Among nineteenth-century historians of Scotland, the precedence, at all events by right of seniority, must be accorded to Patrick Fraser Tytler, who was a joint founder of the Bannatyne club with Scott, and had been a college friend of Archibald Alison. Tytler had historian’s blood in his veins, and many years of his life were devoted to the composition of his History of Scotland (1828–43), an undertaking first suggested to him by Scott. The History plunges in medias res with the accession of Alexander III, Wallace and Bruce following close, with Bannockburn, and with a thanksgiving that Scotland was spared the doom of Ireland. But a learned enquiry into the state of ancient Scotland displays much antiquarian research, and offers a more graphic treatment of the theme than was, at the time, to be found in any other writer. The narrative ends, almost as abruptly as it began, with James VI’s farewell to Scotland on his, in a literal sense, ill-omened departure for his larger kingdom. The History, which is written in a grave and simple style, deals with matters both of church and state in a vein of genuine Scottish patriotism, and can hardly be said to be altogether obsolete. Tytler, who was the author of further historical works, rendered great service to historical study in both England and Scotland by taking a leading part in the suggestion of the calendaring of state papers, instead of the publication in full of mere selections of documents.