A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Gardiner, Samuel Rawson

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Gardiner, Samuel Rawson (1829-1902). -- Historian, b. at Alresford, Hants, was ed. at Winchester and Oxf. In 1855 he m. Isabella, dau. of Edward Irving (q.v.), the founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church, which he joined, and in which he ultimately held high office. About the time of his leaving Oxf. he had planned his great work, The History of England from the Accession of James I. to the Restoration, and the accomplishment of this task he made the great object of his life for more than 40 years. The first two vols. appeared in 1863 as The History of England from the Accession of James I. to the Disgrace of Chief Justice Cooke, and subsequent instalments appeared under the following titles: Prince Charles and The Spanish Marriagepage 151 (1867), England under Buckingham and Charles I. (1875), Personal Government of Charles I. (1877), The Fall of the Government of Charles I. (1881); these were in 1883-4 re-issued in a consolidated form entitled History of England from the Accession of James I. to the Outbreak of the Civil War. The second section of the work, History of the Great Civil War, followed in three vols. pub. in 1886, 1889, and 1891 respectively, and three more vols., History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate in 1894, 1897, and 1901, brought the story down to 1656, when the health of the indefatigable writer gave way, and he d. in 1902. In addition to this monumental work G. wrote many school and college historical text-books, and contributed to the Epochs of Modern History Series, The Thirty Years' War (1874), and The First Two Stuarts (1876); he also wrote Outlines of English History, three parts (1881-3), and Students' History of England, three parts (1891). From 1871-85 he was Prof. of History at King's Coll., London, and lecturer on history for the London Society for the Extension of Univ. Teaching. He also ed. many of the historical documents which he unearthed in his investigations, and many of those issued by the "Camden," "Clarendon," and other societies. He was ed. of The English Historical Review, and contributed largely to the Dictionary of National Biography. The sober and unadorned style of G.'s works did little to commend them to the general reader, but their eminent learning, accuracy, impartiality, and the laborious pursuit of truth which they exhibited earned for him, from the first, the respect and admiration of scholars and serious students of history; and as his great work advanced it was recognised as a permanent contribution to historical literature. In 1882 he received a civil list pension, and was elected to Research Fellowships, first by All Souls' Coll., and subsequently by Merton. He held honorary degrees from the Univ. of Oxford, Gottingen, and Edinburgh.