22 JULY 1905, Page 21



History of the English Church in the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I. By W. H. Frere, M.A. (Macmillan and Co. 7s. 6d.)— The plan of allotting periods to writers specially acquainted with them has many advantages—the " Cambridge Modern History " is a remarkable proof of it—but it makes it a little difficult to see the standpoint distinctly. We have to conjecture, though not wholly without help, what Mr. Frere thinks of the three acts of the drama, so to speak, that precede that which he puts on the stage. Sometimes we should infer that he wishes that the initial change had never been made ; but then we find him speaking of Archbishop Parker as "a Catholic-minded reformer," and this is a phrase that goes a long way. Could, we not have an "appeal to Parker" instead of "an appeal to the first six centuries " ? Andrewes might be another meeting-point. They both had a desire stare super antiques vies. Parker ordered his suffragan to " reconcile " profaned churches, and Andrewes used incense. These things need not trouble us, for the "ancient ways" led to Rome as little for the Caroline as for the Elizabethan prelate. Andrewes, of course, naturally brings us to Laud, of whom we should like to hear Mr. Frere's views more in detail. But here the " period " system comes in again to hinder. Anyhow, he sees and acknowledges Laud's "fatal error in leaning too much upon the royal prerogative." It was this, surely, not Samuel Johnson's " fatal learning," that " led him to the block." Mr. Frere's book is well worth a more extended notice, for it is a work of great learning ; but it is possible that if we could command the necessary space, the proportion between agreements and dis- agreements would be considerably changed.