A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Buckle, Henry Thomas

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Buckle, Henry Thomas (1821-1862). — Historical writer, s. of a wealthy shipowner in London, was b. at Lee in Kent. Though never at a univ. and little at school, he received a high degree of education privately, and inheriting an ample fortune and a large library, he devoted himself to travel and study, with the view of preparing for a great work which he had projected, The History of Civilisation in England. As an introduction to this he entered upon the consideration of the state of civilisation in various other countries, but this he had scarcely completed when his death took place at Damascus in 1862. The first vol. was pub. in 1857, and the second in 1861. In these the results of a vast amount of reading are shown; but they are not free from one-sided views and generalisations resting on insufficient data. He has, however, the credit of having contributed a new idea of history and the method of writing it. The completed work was to have extended to 14 vols. B. was one of the greatest chess-players in Europe.