The new History of England as seen in 1764

I promised more about the New History of England described in the last two blogs as advertised in the Leeds Intelligencer. Here it is

This first element completes the newspaper’s promotion of the new work.
There then follows a brief over-view of the writer of that History. He would appear to have a rather good back-ground.


THE author of this work finds himself under the disagreeable necessity of declaring, as the only apology for offering a new History of England. That he has examined those that, in late years, have been published, with the utmost care and attention, and has found that the editors have, by no means, fulfilled their engagements with the public; having, in many instances, greatly deviated from the plan they proposed to execute. So complete, indeed, were some of their proposals, that, if they had been closely adhered to, there could not have been the least pretence for soliciting the favourable attention of an indulgence people, to a new work on this subject: but while it can be proved, that many material incidents are omitted, and others shamefully misrepresented, either through ignorance, indolence, or malice; while the rise and progress of the sciences, of the polite arts, and the commercial interests of this kingdom, are passed over almost unnoticed, and, on all occasions, the honour of every invention and improvement is ascribed, not to Englishmen, but to aliens: in a word, while the lives of those heroes who laid the foundation, who planned the glorious system of policy, which, at this day, gives us the pre-eminence over all the kingdoms of the earth, are miserably mutilated, and left behind; we cannot but think that there is ample room for improvement, and that a path still lies open, which a new historian may tread with honour, and do signal service to his country. The whole will be divided into proper parts, each division containing a distinct epoch, and including as neatly as the course of events will admit, the history of a century. At the close of each century , the state of religion, the arts and sciences, and of the commercial intersts of the kingdom, will be brought into one point of view; and a brief but candid account will be given of the celebrated writers and artists of that era, in imitation of the admired plan of Voltaire, in his Universal History, in a word, to those who have not been “charmed with the whistling of a name,” the editor appeals for a candid scrutiny, and desires his History may be preferred only in proportion as it adheres more strictly to truth an impartiality, than the rest of our modern Histories.
T. MORTIMER; Smith Street, Westminster: October 1764

Thomas Mortimer (1730–1810) was an English writer – the son of Thomas Mortimer (1706–1741), principal secretary to Sir Joseph Jekyll, the Master of the Rolls, and grandson of John Mortimer, and was born on 9 December 1730 in Carey Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London. His mother died in 1744, and he was left under the guardianship of John Baker of Spitalfields. He went to Harrow School, under James Cox, and then to a private academy in the north, but was largely self-taught. In 1750 he published An Oration on the much lamented death of H.R.H. Frederick, Prince of Wales, and began to study elocution. He also learnt French and Italian for his study of modern history. In November 1762 he was made English vice-consul for the Austrian Netherlands, on the recommendation of John Montague, 4th Earl of Sandwich, secretary of state, and went to Ostend. He hoped for the consulship; but Robert Wood was more successful at intrigue, as under-secretary to Lord Weymouth, and Mortimer was dismissed from his post in 1768, as a ‘Wilkite’; John Wilkes was known to be a personal friend of Mortimer who returned to England, resumed his writing, and worked as a private tutor. He died on 31 March 1810 in Clarendon Square, Somers Town, London.
His New History of England, as promoted and recorded in the last two week’s blog, was dedicated to Queen Charlotte and appeared in 3 volumes in 1764–6.


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