[Henry Hallam, historian, responds indignantly to Dr Thomas Arnold's claim that he has made 'false quotations'.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Henry Hallam') [to Dr Thomas Arnold], defending himself against an allegation made in a lecture at Oxford.

Henry Hallam (1777-1859), English Whig historian [Dr Thomas Arnold (1795-1842), headmaster of Rugby School, and Regius Professor of History at Oxford]
Publication details: 
24 Wilton Crescent [London]. 28 February 1842.
SKU: 21109

4pp., 4to. Bifolium with mourning border. In fair condition, lightly aged, with short closed tears at edges of some folds. An excellent letter, indignantly countering what must be the most serious accusation one historian can level against another, that of making 'false quotations'. The recipient is not named, but from the context is undoubtedly the Headmaster of Rugby School, Thomas Arnold, who since the previous year had held the Regius Professorship of History at Oxford, and would die four months later, on 12 June 1842. The letter begins: 'Dear Sir | You will not, I am certain, consider it as a liberty if I address you a few lines on the subject of an allusion [last word underlined] to a passage in my History of the Middle Ages which I understand you to have made in a recent lecture at Oxford. The great respect which I bear to you will be a sufficient excuse; for, in an ordinary case, I should have waited for publication of the lecture, & made my observations then, or not, as I might have thought it expedient'. He does not have 'an exact knowledge of what you said concerning me', but assures Arnold of the 'very great annoyance' he felt when 'Dr Buckland [i.e. the geologist and cleric William Buckland (1784-1856)], some weeks since, told me, in his jocular language, “Dr Arnold has been blowing you up for false quotations'. He did not have 'the slightest notion what was the specific charge', but considered it 'a most serious imputation upon any writer', and subsequently 'obtained some information' from 'Dr. B.', 'vague indeed, but enough to make me conjecture that your charge related to the well-known passage in Eligius. This has been confirmed since by a letter which a friend of mine received from Oxford; but the words said to have been used by you are very loosely given from memory. It appears however that you spoke in very handsome terms of my general character as a faithful historian'. Arnold has almost certainly overlooked the fact that 'in the fourth edition of my work, & in all that followed, I have retracted the error into which I had been led, so far as it was an error, in the fullest manner; not silently correcting or omitting the passage, but leaving it as it stood, with a note acknowledging it to be highly exaggerated, in consequence of the wrong interpretation which through Mosheim's quotation, many besides myself had put upon the original writer's meaning. On reading this note again, after several years, it appears to me that I have gone to the utmost in saying that the passage quoted by Mosheim ought never to be applied again; for in reality it is one of importance, & serves to confirm what Mosheim himself has said, though Maclaine, & those who followed him, went much farther than it would warrant.' He discusses a Latin sentence, declaring: 'I need not add that this was no false quotation, nor even a garbled one, on the part of Mosheim, who gave an entire [?] - still less on my part, who only quoted him & Robertson.' He ends by declaring his expectation that 'when your lectures go to the press, you will do me the justice of taking notice' that he has corrected 'the error into which I had been led'. In conclusion he observes, for the purpose of bring his work 'to the public eye, it has been absolutely necessary to give modern authorities'.