The History of England during the Reigns of K. William, Q. Anne, and K. George I.
by James Ralph
|The History of England during the Reigns of K. William, Q. Anne, and K. George I|
at the College of William & Mary.
|Published||London: Printed by D.Browne, for F. Cogan|
James Ralph (d. 1762) spent his younger years in Philadelphia, where he was acquainted with Benjamin Franklin and aspired to be a poet. In 1724, he abandoned his family and moved to London where he lived on money borrowed from Franklin and found work teaching at a village school. Later on, Ralph and Franklin had a falling out when Franklin made sexual advances towards Ralph’s mistress. In 1727 he resumed his literary career, publishing a book of poetry known as The Tempest, or, The Terrors of Death.
The history of England during the reigns of King William, Queen Anne, and King George I, with an introductory review of the reigns of the royal brothers Charles and James, published in two volumes (1744-6), was Ralph’s most important work and intended as a continuation of William Guthrie’s History of England. However, the title is misleading because the work does not progress past King William’s reign.
Although the work sold poorly, it is still noteworthy for several reasons. Ralph incorporated far more documents into his analysis than his contemporary, Paul de Rapin-Thoyras, had used when writing his own English history. Additionally, he was the first historian to examine the origins of the revolution of 1688 in depth and his work focused on economics and the financial revolution of the 1690s more than others covering the same period. Finally, he departed from the norm of writing history from a partisan standpoint and pointed out the biases and errors in his predecessors’ analysis.
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
- A General History of England: From the Invasion of the Romans under Julius Cæsar to the Late Revolution in MDCLXXXIII
- Jefferson Inventory
- Wythe's Library
- Laird, Okie, "Ralph, James (d. 1762)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; "Ralph, James," in Appletons' Cyclopedia of American Biography, v. 5, eds. James Grant Wilson and John Fisk (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1900), 164.
- Okie, "Ralph, James".
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