Gibbon, Edward (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

GIBBON, EDWARD (1737–1794), historian, was the descendant of a family settled at Rolvenden in Kent since the fourteenth century (an article in the Gent. Mag. 1788, p. 698, by Sir Egerton Brydges, gives an account of the ancestry differing from that in Gibbon's autobiography). A Matthew Gibbon (baptised 23 Feb. 1642) became a linendraper in Leadenhall Street. Matthew had two sons, Thomas, who became dean of Carlisle, and Edward (b. 1666), who became an army contractor, made a fortune, and was a commissioner of the customs during the last four years of Queen Anne. Bolingbroke declared his knowledge of English commerce and finance to be unsurpassed. In 1716 he was elected a director of the South Sea Company. On the breaking of the bubble his property was confiscated by the act of pains and penalties, but he was allowed to retain 10,000l. out of an estate valued at 106,543l. 5s. 6d. He succeeded in making a second fortune almost equal to the first, and at his death in December 1736 was owner of a large landed property and of a ‘spacious house with gardens and lands’ at Putney. By his wife, daughter of Richard Acton, goldsmith in Leadenhall Street, a member of the Shropshire family, he was father of a son, Edward, and two daughters, Catherine, wife of Edward Elliston, whose daughter married Lord Eliot [see Eliot, Edward], and Hester, who died unmarried in 1790. Hester was a disciple of William Law (1686–1761) [q. v.], in whose ‘Serious Call’ she is said to be represented by ‘Miranda,’ while ‘Flavia’ represents her sister. Her religious views produced some difficulties with her family, though she remained upon civil terms with her nephew, the historian, and left him her money (see Gibbon, Misc. Works, ii. 126, 345, 432; Canon Overton's William Law; and [Walton's] Notes and Materials for Law's life: in the last is a letter from Gibbon in 1786). Law came into the family as tutor of Edward Gibbon, said to be the ‘Flatus’ of the ‘Serious Call.’ Edward was sent to Westminster and to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, whither Law accompanied him. After making the grand tour he was elected for Petersfield in 1734. He was a tory, if not a Jacobite, and took part in the final attack upon Sir Robert Walpole. He married Judith, daughter of James Porten, by whom he was the father of Edward Gibbon, born at Putney 27 April 1737. Five other sons and a daughter died in infancy, the daughter alone living long enough to be remembered by her brother. The father ceased to sit in parliament after the dissolution of 1747. The son's health was very precarious in childhood, and his life often in doubt. His mother being also delicate, he owed his preservation chiefly to the tender care of his aunt, Catherine Porten. He was precocious, especially in arithmetic. He was taught at a day-school in Putney, and when seven years old learnt a little Latin from John Kirby, a poor curate, and author of a philosophical romance called ‘Automathes’ (1745) and an English and Latin Grammar (1746). In January 1746 he was sent to the school of a Dr. Wooddeson at Kingston-on-Thames, where the delicate boy was bullied as a Jacobite by his fellows, and birched into Latin grammar by his master. His mother died in December 1747, and his father, in deep affliction, retired to Buriton, a house near Petersfield, Hampshire, where he had an estate. The son was left in the house of his maternal grandfather, James Porten, near Putney Bridge, under the care of his aunt, Catherine. The boy became deep in Pope's ‘Homer,’ the ‘Arabian Nights,’ Dryden's ‘Virgil,’ and many romances and histories. Porten became bankrupt in the spring of 1748, and at the end of the year Catherine Porten set up a boarding-house for Westminster School, chiefly, it is said, for the benefit of her nephew. He accompanied her, and entered the school in January 1749 [Dr. Vincent, dean of Westminster, told Gibbon that 1748 was the correct date (Misc. Works, ii. 489)]. Miss (called Mrs.) Porten died in the summer of 1786, when Gibbon wrote of her to Lord Sheffield in the most affectionate terms. To her he owed ‘a taste for books which is still the pleasure and glory of my life’ (ib. ii. 389). In two years he ‘painfully climbed into the third form.’ A ‘strange nervous affection,’ which ‘alternately contracted his legs’ and produced excruciating pain, enforced frequent absences. At the end of 1750 he was sent to Bath for his health. He read a little Latin with a clergyman there, but his infirmity prevented any regular teaching, and it seemed probable that he would remain for life an ‘illiterate cripple.’ About 1751 his health improved rapidly, and he was sent in January 1752 to be a pupil of Philip Francis the elder [q. v.] at Esher. Francis, it was found, preferred London excursions to the drudgery of teaching. The elder Gibbon in despair took his son to Oxford, and entered him as a gentleman commoner of Magdalen College 3 April 1752. His taste for miscellaneous reading was by this time directed into a fixed channel. An accidental glance at Echard's ‘Roman History’ had in 1751 excited his curiosity, and led him through a wide course of study curiously coincident with the direction of his later researches. He came to Oxford with a ‘stock of erudition which might have puzzled a doctor, and a degree of ignorance of which a schoolboy might have been ashamed.’ His tastes were confirmed by an ‘assiduous perusal’ of the ‘Universal History,’ of which sixty-five volumes were published from 1747 to 1766. At Oxford, however, Gibbon spent the fourteen ‘most idle and unprofitable’ months of his whole life. The university was plunged in port and prejudice. He incurred debts and paid visits to London of which no notice was taken. He retained an interest in theological controversy, in which his aunt had encouraged him. A perusal of Middleton's ‘Free Inquiry’ (1749), then the subject of a lively controversy, led him to the church of Rome. Middleton insinuated that the continuity of the claim to miraculous powers implied that the claim had been groundless from the first. Gibbon inferred that it was still valid. Bossuet completed the conversion, with the help, it seems, of the jesuit Parsons. [A story mentioned by Johnson (Boswell, ed. Hill, ii. 448), that Gibbon had once been a Mahommedan, is ingeniously conjectured by Macaulay to have arisen from a passing wish to study Arabic at Oxford. See Milman's note in Memoirs (1839), p. 68.] Gibbon applied to a Roman catholic bookseller in London named Lewis, and was by him recommended to a jesuit named Baker, chaplain to the Sardinian ambassador, by whom he was received into the church, 8 June 1753. He communicated the news to his father, who at once took him to the house of David Mallet [q. v.] at Putney, by whose free thinking the boy was scandalised. It was then decided to place him under the care of Pavillard, a Calvinist minister at Lausanne. Gibbon reached Lausanne 30 June 1753, having left London on 19 June. Ignorant of the language, and being upon a moderate allowance among foreigners, Gibbon soon adapted himself to his situation. French then became a second native language. He soon made friendships, especially with a youth named Deyverdun, and Pavillard gently and judiciously led him into various intellectual occupations. He studied the logic of Crousaz, then dominant at Lausanne. He discovered an argument against transubstantiation; ‘the articles of the Romish creed disappeared like a dream;’ and on Christmas day 1754 he received the sacrament in the church of Lausanne. A letter announcing the news to Miss Porten shows that he was already writing English like a Frenchman. He now took to the study of Latin literature with extraordinary energy, cheered by the companionship of Deyverdun. He soon abandoned mathematics, but read Grotius, Puffendorf, Locke, Bayle, and Pascal's ‘Provincial Letters.’ He travelled through Switzerland in 1755, and studied the constitutions of the cantons. He opened a correspondence with some learned men, and had a glimpse of Voltaire. In 1757 he met Susanne Curchod, afterwards Mme. Necker and mother of Mme. de Staël. Her father was minister of Crassy, where Gibbon was permitted to visit her more than once in the latter part of 1757. They became mutually attached. There were difficulties in the way of a marriage; Gibbon was dependent upon his father, without whose consent the match was agreed on both sides to be impossible, and Mlle. Curchod was unwilling to leave her own country. They hoped, however, that time might remove these obstacles. In August 1758 he returned to England, passing through France disguised in the regimentals of some Swiss officers in the Dutch service. He was welcomed by his aunt, but approached his father with some awe. During his absence the father had married a second wife, Dorothea Patton. Gibbon, at first prejudiced against his stepmother, soon became attached to her as to a second mother. She had no children of her own. His father disapproved of the relation to Mlle. Curchod, and Gibbon, being entirely dependent upon him, ‘sighed as a lover,’ but ‘obeyed as a son.’ He dropped all communication with her, although she continued to cherish hopes and refused good matches for his sake.

Gibbon was now introduced to London society, but made few friends except the Mallets. He spent nine months in London during the next two years, and the remainder at Buriton, where he lived as much as he could in the library, but was occasionally compelled to visit horse races, entertain country squires, or canvass at elections. He began to form a library of his own and to make abstracts of books. He had begun his French ‘Essai sur l'Étude de la Littérature’ at Lausanne in 1758. He finished it in February 1759, and published it, at his father's desire, in 1761. A letter from Dr. Maty [q. v.], who had encouraged the young author, is prefixed. It succeeded better abroad than at home, and was reprinted at Geneva in 1762. An English translation appeared in 1764. After the publication of his history it was much sought for and pirated in Dublin, but he refused to republish it himself. Sainte-Beuve says (Causeries du Lundi, viii. 446) that the French is ‘correct but artificial.’ Gibbon and his father had meanwhile become captain and major in the Hampshire militia, their commissions being dated 12 June 1759. The regiment was embodied in May 1760. They were quartered at various towns in the southern counties until they were disembodied at Southampton 23 Dec. 1762. Though his companions were often boorish, Gibbon was forced to become ‘an Englishman and a soldier.’ He studied military literature, and ‘the captain of Hampshire grenadiers’ was ‘not useless to the historian of the Roman empire.’ He made the acquaintance of Wilkes, then colonel of the Buckinghamshire militia.

After this ‘long fast’ from literature he returned with fresh appetite to his studies, and ‘never relapsed into indolence.’ He had already begun to choose a subject for a prolonged effort. During brief absences from the militia he had resolved, after considering various projects, upon a life of Sir Walter Raleigh. He found the subject too narrow, too much exhausted, and too likely to lead to party controversy. He afterwards thought of a history of the Swiss, or of Florence under the Medici. He used his first liberty in a visit to the continent, staying from 28 Jan. to 9 May 1763 in Paris, where he saw some of the eminent authors of the time. He returned to Lausanne, and stayed till April 1764. He met Mlle. Curchod—a fact which he does not mention in his autobiography—but treated her with marked coldness. She at last demanded an explanation, receiving a cold reply, and she consented to exchange love for friendship. She suggested, however, that he should visit Rousseau. Her friend Moultou, a pastor, had prepared Rousseau to administer some good advice to the backward lover. Gibbon did not pay the visit, and soon afterwards, meeting Mlle. Curchod at a gathering at Ferney, behaved in such a way as to bring about a final rupture. Gibbon's behaviour, which was first made known in the letters published by M. d'Haussonville, seems to have deserved Rousseau's condemnation of which he complains in his autobiography. It was only a misfortune that the lady's passion was stronger than his own; but he need not have behaved to her with a coldness bordering on brutality. They were, however, reconciled. She married Necker in 1764. Gibbon met her in Paris in 1765, when he saw her daily, and each took a certain pride in proving to the other that the wound was healed. They afterwards saw each other frequently, and their correspondence in later years was not only polite but affectionate, though not perhaps quite unaffected. At Lausanne Gibbon met Holroyd, afterwards Lord Sheffield. Their intimacy grew and flourished until Gibbon's death. He went through an elaborate course of antiquarian reading to prepare for a journey to Italy, which occupied a year (April 1764 to May 1765). He spent the first summer at Florence and studied Italian. He reached Rome in October. On 15 Oct. 1764, he says, while ‘musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, where the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter … the idea of writing the decline and fall of the city first started into my mind.’ He visited Naples, Venice, and Verona, crossed Mont Cenis to Lyons, and reached his father's house 25 June 1765.

Gibbon retained his commission in the militia, becoming major and colonel commandant, until 1770. This involved a month of drilling each year. He lived quietly at Buriton, where he had become warmly attached to his stepmother, and where his friend Deyverdun, who was now seeking literary and educational employment, spent many months with him. In the winter he went to London, and formed a ‘Roman Club’ to preserve the friendships formed abroad. He still contemplated his great work ‘at an awful distance,’ and with Deyverdun's help composed in French an introduction to a history of Switzerland. It was read (1767) before a literary society of foreigners in London, and their disapproval caused its abandonment. Hume, however, saw and approved it. Gibbon co-operated with Deyverdun in publishing ‘Mémoires Littéraires de la Grande-Bretagne,’ in imitation of the ‘Journal Britannique’ (1750–5) of Dr. Maty. Two volumes were published in 1767 and 1768, to which Gibbon contributed a review of Lyttelton's ‘Henry II,’ and other articles. It made him known to Lord Chesterfield, to whom it was dedicated, and to David Hume (for contents of vol. i. see Miscellaneous Works, ii. 69). A third volume was interrupted by Deyverdun's appointment through Gibbon to be travelling tutor to Sir Richard Worsley. He was to receive after four years an annuity of 100l. for life. In 1770 Gibbon published his ‘Critical Observations on the Sixth Book of the Æneid,’ a sharp attack upon the hypothesis suggested by Warburton in his ‘Divine Legation.’ Gibbon was not unnaturally provoked by Warburton's arrogance, but he admits that he was too contemptuous, and that he should not have concealed his name. From 1768 he had been settling down to his chief task. His father died 10 Nov. 1770. He had mortgaged his estates and sold Putney with his son's consent; he was troubled by lawsuits, had lost money by farming, and his strength and spirits had decayed. Gibbon, who had been a thoroughly good son, now became independent. Two years passed before he could get rid of Buriton; but in 1772 he settled at 7 Bentinck Street, Cavendish Square, London, which he only quitted occasionally to visit his friend Holroyd at Sheffield Place, Sussex. He became member of the fashionable clubs and well known in London society. In 1774 he joined Johnson's famous club (founded in 1764). He was elected ‘professor in ancient history’ at the Royal Academy in succession to Goldsmith (d. 1774). Boswell (Letters to Temple, pp. 233, 242) calls him an ‘ugly, affected, disgusting fellow,’ who ‘poisons the literary club to me,’ and classes him among ‘infidel wasps and venomous insects.’ He signed the famous ‘round-robin’ requesting Johnson to use English for Goldsmith's epitaph. Boswell's dislike may have prevented Gibbon's name from appearing more frequently in reports of conversation, but he does not appear to have been intimate with Johnson. On 11 Oct. 1774 he was returned by the Eliot influence for Liskeard, Cornwall. He soon resigned himself to be ‘a mute,’ and voted in support of the ministry throughout the American war.

The first volume of his history, which he had begun to compose in London, appeared in the beginning of 1776. Three editions were speedily sold. His fame was as rapid as it has been lasting. Some warm praise from Hume ‘overpaid the labour of ten years.’ Robertson, third of a ‘triumvirate’ in which he scarcely ventured to claim a place, was equally warm, and welcomed his later volumes. Adam Ferguson, Joseph Warton, Lord Camden, and Horace Walpole were among his admirers. Strahan & Cadell, his publishers, allowed him two-thirds of the profits, which on the first edition amounted to 490l. He composed the first and two last chapters three times, and the second and third twice, and at starting was often tempted to throw away the labours of seven years. The famous chapters upon the growth of Christianity produced, as Hume foretold—though Gibbon himself seems to have been unprepared for it—a series of attacks. He replied to Henry Edward Davies [q. v.], James Chelsum [q. v.], and some others, in a ‘Vindication’ (January 1779), printed in octavo in order that it might not be bound up with the history. ‘Victory over such antagonists was a sufficient humiliation.’ Antagonists of higher reputation were Joseph Milner, David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes), Joseph Priestley, and Richard Watson, afterwards bishop of Llandaff (see a list in Lowndes, Manual). No one, however, was a match for Gibbon in learning; and his accuracy in statement of facts is now admitted, though his philosophical explanation is no longer accepted. A six months' visit to the Neckers in Paris, where he saw Buffon, and had a smart dispute with the Abbé de Mably, delayed his second volume. The fastidious Mme. du Deffand was pleased with him and said that he deserved to be a Frenchman. He also spent some time in studying anatomy under Hunter, and attending lectures upon chemistry. He was employed by the ministry to draw up a ‘Mémoire Justificatif’ in answer to a French manifesto. This service and the friendship of the attorney-general, Wedderburne, led to his appointment in the summer of 1779 as one of the lords commissioners of trade and plantations, with a salary of 750l. Gibbon was not a keen politician, and his agreement in some of the criticisms made by the opposition gave rise to the charge that he had been bought off by the government (Walpole's Letters, viii. 24, 57; Russell, Fox, i. 265; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. viii. 312). He confesses rather cynically his regard for his personal interest, and his indifference to the great questions raised by the American contest. The duties of his office were too slight to interrupt his literary labours. On 13 March 1780 a clause in Burke's ‘Establishment Bill’ for abolishing the board of trade was passed by 207 to 199; but the bill was ultimately lost. Parliament was dissolved 1 Sept., and Gibbon lost his seat for Liskeard, Eliot having joined the opposition. Some letters to his cousin upon this occasion are preserved at Port Eliot (Hist. MSS. Comm. 1st Rep. pp. 41–2). He now (at the beginning of 1781) published the second and third volumes of his history. Though at first more coldly received, they soon rose to a level with the previous volume in general esteem. The Duke of Gloucester on accepting a volume said affably, ‘Another damned thick book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble! Eh, Mr. Gibbon?’ (Best, Memorials, p. 68).

Gibbon was returned to parliament for Lymington on a bye-election (25 June 1781), through the influence of North. The board of trade was abolished in 1782. Gibbon, who adhered to the North and Fox coalition ‘from a principle of gratitude,’ had a promise of some other place, and applied for the post of secretary of embassy at Paris. Fortunately he did not obtain an appointment which would have involved the interruption of his great work. He had some thoughts of concluding it with the third volume. He desired independence, however, was weary of parliament, and had become absorbed in his fourth volume. His friend Deyverdun, after travelling with several pupils, was now settled at Lausanne with a moderate competence in a house given by an aunt. Gibbon proposed to join him in a retreat, where his fortune would go further and where he would have leisure and access to books. Deyverdun gladly accepted the proposal, and Gibbon sent his library to Lausanne and settled there himself in September 1783. His last hope of the secretaryship only vanished at the beginning of that month (Misc. Works, ii. 321). He occupied a convenient house with a beautiful garden of four acres. He rapidly finished his fifth and sixth volumes; he was now ‘straining for the goal,’ and between eleven and twelve on the night of 27 June 1787 wrote the last words in a summer-house in his garden. The three last volumes (written from March 1782 to June 1784, July 1784 to May 1786, and May 1786 to June 1787) were sent to press and published in 1788. He notes that the first rough copy was sent to the press, and that no one saw it except the printer and the author. Adam Smith, acknowledging the gift of these volumes from ‘his dear friend,’ pronounces that they place the author at the ‘very head of the literary tribe’ in Europe. He returned to England to visit Holroyd, now Lord Sheffield, and superintended the publication. This was delayed till his fifty-first birthday, 27 April 1788, and celebrated by a dinner at the house of his publisher (Cadell). He was present at the impeachment of Warren Hastings in June, and was complimented in Sheridan's speech. He then returned to Lausanne, where he was deeply affected by the loss of his friend Deyverdun, 4 July 1789. Deyverdun had made arrangements in his will by which Gibbon was enabled to secure the possession of the house for his life.

He lived quietly and regularly at Lausanne, where he was treated with the highest respect by the natives. He shared the enjoyments of the little society of the place; played shilling whist, gave an occasional ball, and was rather vexed than pleased when the ‘fashion of viewing the glaciers’ led to the ‘incursions of foreigners.’ The outbreak of the French revolution brought many refuges to Lausanne, including the Neckers. Gibbon, who shared the common abhorrence of the later events, was alarmed by the approach of the French. In 1791 Sheffield with his family spent some months with Gibbon. He promised to return the visit, and was preparing to start when, on 26 April 1793, he heard of Lady Sheffield's death. He resolved immediately to join his friend, and arrived in England at the end of May. After staying at Sheffield Place till October, he visited his stepmother at Bath and Lord Spencer at Althorp, returning to London in November. Since his early youth his health had been good, in spite of occasional at- tacks of gout. A complaint, for which he had consulted a surgeon in 1761, had been strangely neglected by him ever since, and now assumed alarming proportions. Some operations became necessary, and on a visit to Sheffield Place at Christmas he was evidently very weak. He returned to London, and on 15 Jan. said that he thought himself a ‘good life for ten, twelve, or perhaps twenty years.’ He was taken ill that night and died at a quarter to one on the following afternoon, 16 Jan. 1794. He was buried in Sheffield's family burial-place at Fletching, Sussex, where a Latin epitaph by Dr. Parr was placed upon his monument. He left his fortune to the two children of his uncle, Sir Stanier Porten, the Eliots, his other relations being too prosperous to need it. His papers were left to Lord Sheffield.

Gibbon composed his ‘Memoirs’ in his last stay at Lausanne. He had contemplated a series of lives of great Englishmen from the Reformation, and he had also agreed to be the director of a great scheme for the publication of the original documents for English history. He was to write introductions to the volumes which were to be edited by Pinkerton. The scheme was abandoned on his death,

A portrait of Gibbon by Warton in 1774 was engraved for the ‘Miscellaneous Works.’ He was ugly, and his features were so overlaid by fat, even at this time, as to be almost grotesque. His portrait by Reynolds, painted in 1779 (Misc. Works, ii. 232), was at Sheffield Place, and engraved by Wall for his ‘Decline and Fall.’ A silhouette in the ‘Miscellaneous Works’ (1796 and 1837) gives a comic representation of his figure. Absurd stories were told of his clumsiness. Mme. de Genlis speaks of his falling on his knees before Madame de Montolieu, who had to summon a servant to enable him to rise. His corpulence increased his aversion to exercise, and after his military service he appears to have led a most sedentary life, though never working at night except when finishing his history. His manners appear to have struck most people as rather affected, and his dress was a little too fine (Colman, Random Records, i. 121; Brydges, Autobiography, i. 237), but we can believe Sheffield's account of his charm in congenial society. Though a very unromantic lover, a lukewarm patriot, and rather cynical in his philosophy, Gibbon was a most amiable friend. In his relations to his father, his aunt, his stepmother, to Sheffield and Deyverdun, he was not only amiable but faithful and affectionate to a remarkable degree. No personal quarrel is recorded; his servants were attached to him; and his career as a man of letters, labouring without haste and without pause at one great task, is a proof of his moral as well as his intellectual qualities. He must have possessed in the highest degree patience, calmness, unswerving industry, and a just estimate of his own abilities. The criticisms upon his book, the last and ablest of which is in J. C. Morison's ‘Gibbon’ (Mr. Morley's ‘English Men of Letters’), are nearly unanimous. In accuracy, thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a vast subject, the ‘History’ is unsurpassable. It is the one English history which may be regarded as definitive. The philosophy is of course that of the age of Voltaire and implies a deficient insight into the great social forces. The style, though variously judged, has at least the cardinal merit of admirable clearness, and if pompous is always animated. Whatever its shortcomings the book is artistically imposing as well as historically unimpeachable as a vast panorama of a great period. Gibbon's fortunate choice of a subject enabled him to write the one book in which the clearness of his own age is combined with a thoroughness of research which has made it a standard for his successors.

Gibbon's library was bought by W. Beckford (1759–1844) [q. v.], who left it in Lausanne, and ultimately gave it to a physician named Scholl. Scholl sold half of it in 1830 to a bookseller, by whom it was dispersed, and the other half for 500l. to an Englishman, who ultimately gave it back to him. This half is apparently still preserved (Notes and Queries, 5th ser. v. 425, vii. 414). The Hôtel Gibbon at Lausanne stands on part of Gibbon's garden. His house was still standing in 1868.

In 1796 Sheffield published 2 vols. 4to of Gibbon's ‘Miscellaneous Works.’ In 1814 he published a second edition in 5 vols. 8vo, containing much additional matter, which was also published in 4to. The original 4to was republished in one vol. 8vo without the additional matter in 1837. The ‘Memoirs of My Life and Writings’ included in this were compiled from six different sketches. Gibbon says that his name may 'hereafter appear among the thousand articles of a Biographica Britannica;' and his memoir is a model for this purpose as for others. An edition of the ‘Memoirs’ with notes by H. H. Milman was published in 1839. The ‘Works’ include letters, notes, and diaries of his early studies, a fragment called ‘Antiquities of the House of Brunswick,’ dated 1790, published separately in 1814, his previously published works, and a number of youthful essays. Sheffield in his will forbade the publication of further papers, and Dean Milman was only allowed to inspect them on condition of not publishing anything.

Of editions of the ‘Decline and Fall’ may be mentioned the Oxford edition in 8 vols. 8vo (revised and compared with original manuscripts), 1828; that by H. H. Milman, 12 vols. 8vo, 1838, 1839; that by Dr. W. Smith (including notes of Milman and Guizot), 8 vols. 8vo, 1854, 1855; in Bohn's 'British Classics,' 7 vols. sm. 8vo, 1853–5, and in 1 vol. royal 8vo, 1840. An edition by Thomas Bowdler [q. v.], 'for families and young persons,' appeared in 1840; an abridgement by Charles Hereford in 1789; and the 'Student's Gibbon,' by Dr. W. Smith, in 1857. French, German, and Italian translations appeared during Gibbon's life and subsequently; there are also translations into Polish, modern Greek, and Magyar. The French translation, revised and annotated by M. and Mme. Guizot, appeared in 1812.

[Gibbon's Miscellaneous Works as above; Egerton Brydges's Autobiography, i. 227, ii. 17; Gent. Mag. for 1794, i. 5, 94, 178, 199, 382; M. d'Haussonville's Salon de Mme. Necker (1882), i. 34–84 (reprinted from a series of articles in the Revue des deux Mondes, 1880, 1881; Boswell's Johnson; Walpole's Letters; Colman's Eccentricities for Edinburgh (for some absurd anecdotes); Mme. du Deffand's Letters to Horace Walpole (1810), iii. 261, 265, 274, 278, 283, 286, 301 (on his visit to Paris in 1777); Letters of Gibbon in Campbell's Loughborough (Lives of the Chancellors) and Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ii. 145, 385; Sainte-Beuve's Causeries du Lundi, viii. 431–72; J. C. Morison's Gibbon in Men of Letters Series.]

L. S.