Amazing 19th Century Limited Edition Antique Leather Book Entitled “Oliver Cromwell” by Samuel Gardiner

Very Fine Beautiful Large Antique Leather Book | Printed on Japanese Vellum | Full Red Moroccan Leather Binding | Gold Gilt Binding | Titled: Oliver Cromwell | By the foremost expert on Oliver Cromwell – Samuel Gardiner | Limited Edition #112 of 350 copies | Beautifully illustrated | Size: Quarto – Book measures approximately 12 7/8″ x 10 1/2″

Additional information
  • Very Fine Beautiful Large Antique Leather Book | Printed on Japanese Vellum | Full Red Moroccan Leather Binding | Gold Gilt Binding | Titled: Oliver Cromwell | By the foremost expert on Oliver Cromwell – Samuel Gardiner | Limited Edition #112 of 350 copies | Beautifully illustrated | Size: Quarto – Book measures approximately 12 7/8″ x 10 1/2″ | Published by Goupil in 1899 | Very Good Condition.

    About the Author:

    Samuel Rawson Gardiner (4 March 1829 – 24 February 1902) was an English historian, who specialized in 17th-century English history. He is the foremost historian of the Puritan revolution and the English Civil War as explained by historian John Morrill who says:

    “Gardiner was a brilliant historian, who tested the veracity, accuracy, and biases of every source and picked his way through the evidence with a care and clarity of exposition which brooks no equal for this or any other period.”

    Gardiner published his history of the Puritan Revolution and English Civil War in three series of 19 volumes, originally published under different titles, beginning with the accession of King James I of England. It was completed in two volumes by CH Firth as The Last Years of the Protectorate (1909).

    The series is History of England from the Accession of James I to the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1603–1642 (10 vols. 1883-4); History of the Great Civil War, 1642–1649 (5 vols. 1893); and History of the Commonwealth and Protectorate, 1649–1660 (4 vol. 1903). Gardiner’s treatment of the subject is exhaustive and philosophical, taking in political and constitutional history, the changes in religion, thought and sentiment, their causes and their tendencies. Of his original sources, many exist only in manuscript, and his researches in public and private collections of manuscripts at home, and in the archives of Simancas, Venice, Rome, Brussels and Paris, were tireless and productive.

    Gardiner may have been drawn to the period by the fact that he was descended from Oliver Cromwell and Henry Ireton, but his judgments are unbiased, and his appreciations of character reveal fine perception and broad sympathies, as shown in his analyses of the characters of James I, Francis Bacon, William Laud, and Thomas Wentworth, as well as Oliver Cromwell.

    As a foremost historian of the era, Gardiner’s evaluation of Oliver Cromwell is especially significant. No figure in English history has called forth a greater range of evaluations.

    On the positive side Gardiner concluded:

    “The man—it is ever so with the noblest—was greater than his work. In his own heart lay the resolution to subordinate self to public ends, and to subordinate material to moral and spiritual objects of desire. He was limited by the defects which make imperfect the character and intellect even of the noblest and the wisest of mankind. He was limited still more by the unwillingness of his contemporaries to mould themselves after his ideas. The blows that he had struck against the older system had their enduring effects. Few wished for the revival of the absolute kingship, of the absolute authority of a single House of Parliament, or of the Laudian system of governing the Church….The living forces of England—forces making for the destruction of those barriers which he was himself breaking through, buoyed him up—as a strong and self-confident swimmer, he was carried onward by the flowing tide.”

    “In the latter portion of the Protector’s career it was far otherwise. His failure to establish a permanent Government was not due merely to his deficiency in constructive imagination. It was due rather to two causes: the umbrage taken at his position as head of an army whose interference in political affairs gave even more offence than the financial burdens it imposed on a people unaccustomed to regular taxation; and the reaction which set in against the spiritual claims of that Puritanism of which he had become the mouthpiece…. It was no reaction against the religious doctrines or ecclesiastical institutions upheld by the Protector that brought about the destruction of his system of government…. So far as the reaction was not directed against militarism, it was directed against the introduction into the political world of what appeared to be too high a standard of morality, a reaction which struck specially upon Puritanism, but which would have struck with as much force upon any other form of religion which, like that upheld by Laud, called in the power of the State to enforce its claims. Even though Oliver was in his own person no sour fanatic, as Royalist pamphleteers after the Restoration falsely asserted; it is impossible to deny that he strove by acts of government to lead men into the paths of morality and religion beyond the limit which average human nature had fixed for itself.”

    “In dealing with foreign nations his mistake on this head was more conspicuous, because he had far less knowledge of the conditions of efficient action abroad than he had at home. It may fairly be said that he knew less of Scotland than of England, less of Ireland than of Great Britain, and less of the Continent than of any one of the three nations over which he ruled. It has sometimes been said that Oliver made England respected in Europe. It would be more in accordance with truth to say that he made her feared.”

    “Oliver’s claim to greatness can be tested by the undoubted fact that his character receives higher and wider appreciation as the centuries pass by. The limitations on his nature— the one-sidedness of his religious zeal, the mistakes of his policy — are thrust out of sight, the nobility of his motives, the strength of his character, and the breadth of his intellect, force themselves on the minds of generations for which the objects for which he strove have been for the most part attained, though often in a different fashion from that which he placed before himself. Even those who refuse to waste a thought on his spiritual aims remember with gratitude his constancy of effort to make England great by land and sea; and it would be well for them also to be reminded of his no less constant efforts to make England worthy of greatness.”

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    Artist / Maker

    Samuel Gardiner


    19th Century


    Books, Books, Maps, Documents and Manuscripts




    United Kingdom


    Gilt Lettering, Leather Bound, Limited Edition








    Oliver Cromwell