4 MARCH 1871, Page 23

The History of Wales. By Jane Williams. (Longmans.)—A re- viewer

who has the misfortune of being a Saseenach is inclined to regard with suspicion the work of a lady who describes herself by the second title of " Ysgafoll." This suspicion, we hasten to say, is un- necessary. Miss Williams is, we think, on the whole, justified in saying that her history is derived from authentic sources. Sometimes, it seems to us, she takes too much for granted, and gives to the evidence which she uses a weight to which it is scarcely entitled. But she avoids extragavancies, and her narrative, if it is not absolutely historical, has at all events an historical appearance. Nor, though her national pre- possessions are strongly marked, do they make her unfair. Her esti- mate of the character of Edward I.—a critical point in such a matter- is not unfavourable. We mast say, however, that the very strong language which she applies to Suetonius Paulinns is not justified by what we know of that general. The language of Tacitus, who expressly calls him diligens et moderates, leaves a generally favourable impression of his character, while his reputation for undue severity rests on an obscure passage of which the text is very uncertain. The great fault of Miss Williams' work lies not in her treatment of the subject, but in the subject itself, which is petty and uninteresting. Welsh history very seldom indeed crosses the main line of human affairs. Take a few, a very few, names out of it, and its interest becomes of the narrowest and most local kind. We do not say that it should not be written ; only that those who write it, even when they bring to the task such industry and ability as is shown in the work before us, must be coatent with scanty thanks.