1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Palgrave, Sir Francis

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PALGRAVE, SIR FRANCIS (178S-1861), English historian, was the son of Meyer Cohen, a Jewish stockbroker, and was born in London in July 1788. He was educated privately and was so precocious a boy as to translate a Latin version of the Battle of the Frogs and Mice into French in 1796, which was published by his father in 1797. In 1803 Palgrave was articled to a firm of solicitors, but was called to the bar at the Middle Temple in 1827. On his marriage in 1823 with Elizabeth, daughter of Dawson Turner of Great Yarmouth, he had become a Christian, and had changed his name to Palgrave, the maiden name of his wife's mother. His work as a barrister was chiefly concerned with pedigree cases before the House of Lords. He edited for the Record Commission Parliamentary Writs (London, 1827-1834); Rotuli curiae regis (London, 1835); The antient calendars and inventories of the treasury of his majesty's exchequer (London, 1836); and Documents and records illustrating the history of Scotland (London, 1837), which contains an elaborate introduction. In 1831 he published his History of England, Anglo-Saxon Period, later editions of which were published as History of the Anglo-Saxons; in 1832, his Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth, pronounced by Freeman a “memorable book”; and in 1834 his Essay upon the original authority of the king's council. In 1832 he was knighted, and after serving as one of the municipal corporations commissioners, became deputy keeper of the public records in 1838, holding this office until his death at Hampstead on the 6th of July 1861. Palgrave's most important work is his History of Normandy and England, which appeared in four volumes (London 1851- 1864), and deals with the history of the two countries down to 1101.

He also wrote Truths and Fictions of the Middle Ages (London, 1837, and again 1844); The Lord and the Vassal (London, 1844); and Handbook for Travellers in Northern Italy (London, 1842, and subsequent editions).

Palgrave's four sons were: Francis Turner Palgrave (q.v.), sometime professor of poetry at Oxford; William Gifford Palgrave; Sir Robert Harry Inglis Palgrave (b. 1827), an authority upon banking and economics generally; and Sir Reginald Francis Douce Palgrave.

William Gifford Palgrave (1826-1888) went to India as a soldier after a brilliant career at Charterhouse School and Trinity College, Oxford; but, having become a Roman Catholic, he was ordained priest and served as a Jesuit missionary in India, Syria, and Arabia. Forsaking the priesthood about 1864, he was employed as a diplomatist by the British government in Egypt, Asia Minor, the West Indies, and Bulgaria, being appointed resident minister in Uruguay in 1884; he died at Montevideo on the 30th of September 1888. He wrote a romance, Hermann Agha (London, 1872), A Narrative of a Year's Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (London, 1865), Essays on Eastern Questions (London, 1872), and other works.

Sir Reginald Palgrave (1829-1904) became a solicitor in 1851; but two years later was appointed a clerk in the House of Commons, becoming clerk of the House on the retirement of Sir Erskine May in 1886. He was made a K.C.B. in 1892, retired from his office in 1900, and died at Salisbury on the 13th of July 1904. Sir Reginald wrote The Chairman's Handbook; The House of Commons: Illustrations of its History and Practice (London, 1869); and Cromwell: an appreciation based on contemporary evidence (London, 1890). He also assisted to edit the tenth edition of Erskine May's Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament (London, 1896).