The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 51
Opinions of the Press
Opinions of the Press.
If literature of this kind is becoming popular in England, the reign of Albert Edward may be a short and a troubled one.
—New York Sun.
There are many valuable truths in the "New Book of Kings" justly and forcibly expressed. The remarks on the existing monarchy should be laid to heart by all thoughtful and candid readers.
—Algernon C. Swinburne.
It really ought to be circulated as a tract by hundreds of thousands. If this were done, it would have a tremendous political effect, and would quickly and greatly strengthen the hands of the Radical section of the Liberal party.
I doubt whether Mr. George's "Progress and Poverty" has made a deeper impression than the "New Book of Kings" by Mr. Morrison Davidson, a well-known controversialist and original thinker.
—Cor. Brooklyn Eagle.
Enough of Mr. Davidson's words have been given to show how elegant and pure his style is; how felicitous his wit; how keen his satire.
A singularly able and powerful, book this—the sort of work that prepares for great changes, great reforms.
The book is rankly Republican—so written that it reads more like the Newgate Calendar than any other kind of literature.
—Aberdeen Free Press.
If Mr. Davidson had not fortified all his assertions by unquestionable historical authority, one would be very much inclined to set down his book as the nightmare of a man with a very powerful and a very morbid imagination.
—The Freeman's Journal.
A remarkably scathing and exhaustive review.
—The Irish World.
Mr. Davidson handles the Kings and Queens as a skilful surgeon would describe a skeleton to a class of students. There is an immense mischief making power in this little paper-covered publication.
None can deny that Mr. Davidson is an able writer.
—East Aberdeenshire Observer.
O'Donovan Rossa would write such a book against Irish landlords if book-making instead of dynamite-plotting were in his way.
—Weekly Dispatch (London.)
Mr. Davidson is master of a lucid and vigorous literary style. Against the whole lot of our English Sovereigns he stands in the attitude of devil's advocate.
—People's Journal (Dundee.)page break
A slashing, relentless, yet scholarly impeachment.
He (Mr. Davidson) stalks through history like a pestilence.
As these essays in their original form have possibly passed under the eyes of two millions of readers, they can hardly have failed to accomplish their author's purpose.
—New York Nation.
He has succeeded admirably in painting vile pictures. His canvas is filled with the most repulsive-looking monsters.
He (the author) conclusively proves that we would have been much better without them (the Kings.)
Mr. Davidson's book should be in the hands of every thinking man.
Mr. Davidson is a vigorous writer, and might have used hi? pen for better purposes.
The "New Book of Kings" is nothing more nor less than a "scandalous chronicle" of the English Monarchy which under ordinary circumstances would be consigned with a feeling of disgust to the waste-paper basket. The denunciatory paragraphs now going the rounds of nearly the whole English, Irish and Scottish press are but gratuitous advertisements of a book which ought never to have been printed.
The New Book of Kings "embraces a travesty of history as unscrupulous, served up in a sauce of rhetorical malignity as base, as the most zealous foe of the monarchy could desire. To the entire satisfaction of his own insolence he (the author) shows that from the time of William the Conqueror to that of William IV. the career of royalty was one of consistent cruelty, fraud and debauchery.
Among literary items be it recorded that Mr. Morrison Davidson, Barrister and Journalist, has just published the "New Book of Kings" which is as fiercely revolutionary as Diderot himself could desire.
The "New Book of Kings" is an interesting and cleverly written little book by an Universal Iconoclast who not only pulverises all our English Kings, but even attempts to drag Oliver Cromwell from his grave and to gibbet him once more. There is a terrific amount of truth in Mr. Davidson's impeachment of Crowned Heads; but we do most certainly challenge the assertion that Cromwell was a 'beast of prey.' What we do admire about the author is his consistency; he has no mercy even for those who might be presumed to be his friends.
This is a very clever little book. The best point in Mr. Davidson's work is that he seems to have shaken himself clear almost if not altogether from middle-class prejudices. The history of the great Middle-Class Revolution of the seventeenth century has yet to be written. Mr. David-son's sympathy with the Levellers and genuine Republicans is so manifest that he would start with much in his favour. It needs some pluck even now to write this sentence, "judging of such a beast of prey as Cromwell we should never regard for an instant what he said but mark intently what he did.
Mr. Morrison Davidson describes the war in Egypt, carried on by the noble Mr. Gladstone for whom Mr. Davidson worked in 1880 as "the most iniquitous of modern times."
The blackest of all the black marks is set against Cromwell, the hero of page break Carlyle and the demigod of English democracy. It is needless to say that Froude's affection for "Bluff King Hal" and Macaulay's enthusiasm for William III. find no place in these ruthless pages.
—Eastern Evening News.
Altogether it is an awful story, as pungent as a clever writer can make it, and perhaps the telling it in blunt language is not without its uses. I would advise any bad bold Radical who believes neither in king nor lord, to buy it and harden his wicked heart therewith.
The author of that very spirited book "Eminent Radicals" has issued from the Modern Press another very powerful Radical publication characteristically called the "New Book of Kings." It is written in Mr. Davidson's most trenchant style.
The "New Book of Kings" is a ferocious attack on Monarchy which is certain to have a great circulation both in this country and America. It has as much interest as a sensational novel and far more solidity.
—The Galloway Free Press.
Mr. Morrison Davidson has published his "New Book of Kings." Its author has not a word to say in favour of any English sovereign from William the Conqueror to Victoria. This monotony of turpitude would be wearisome were it not for the vivacious and trenchant style. It is calculated to serve the useful purpose of opening the eyes of people who now worship Monarchy as a fetish.
The "New Book of Kings" would be justified in its tone if Queen Victoria were like King Bomba. It is a long libel on the sovereigns of England.
—Western Morning News.
I have hardly seen a book of this character since the days of Ernest Jones and Feargus O'Connor, Frost, Williams, and Jones. Such a book should be a sign to the Tories that society may want saving again. The "New Book of Kings" must be set down as a very advanced and thoroughly Republican production.
If I wanted to convert any friend from the errors of Republicanism I should give him Mr. Davidson's book. "Nothing could be so bad as that," he would say. One can hardly criticise a volume written in this extraordinary style.
The Duke of Connaught, it is hinted, may not care to go back to India While here he can compare notes with his royal relatives holding similar cosy positions with respect to a book published recently entitled the "New Book of Kings."
—Belfast Morning News.
Mr. Morrison Davidson's "New Book of Kings" is causing something of a flutter in the Ministerialist dovecots. His writings read like the cry of the injured spirit of Liberalism coming to earth to indict false leaders and traitorous followers.
—Wolverhampton Evening Star.
The "New Book of Kings" is an astounding one and in any other country would be almost certainly suppressed. It is a savage attack on the Monarchy and strange to say on the present government.
—Dublin Daily Express.
The "New Book of Kings," by Mr. Morrison Davidson who wrote the smart sketches in the Echo "Senators in Harness" is written in too cantankerous a spirit. The book dwells on the bad side of each monarch's character and ignores the good.
—Manchester Evening News.
The style of the "New Book of Kings" is able and agreeable but its rampant Radicalism is calculated to appal even the followers of Mr. Chamberlain.
—Newcastle Daily Journal.page break
Mr. Morrison Davidson's "New Book of Kings" is a curious specimen of the literature with which extreme politicians occasionally favour us. Written with masculine vigour and no want of that it is yet about the most remarkable perversion of history that one could reasonably expect to see.
The object of this Radical writer is to show that the sovereigns of England have been the vilest wretches that ever crawled.
—Middlesbro' Daily Exchange.
The "New Book of Kings" is simply a violent attack on the memory of the rulers of England from the time of the Conquest down to the present reign. It has the merit of being well written, but it is cruelly plain-spoken. There are passages in the book savouring of rank disloyalty.
—Belfast News Letter.
Mr. Davidson is the unblushing accuser of all the Kings and Queens that ever reigned over England. His little book is a veritable "bloody circuit" by a modern Judge Jeffries. It is a collection of short and pithy condemnations of their acts, their characters and their lives written with sarcastic force and unsparing hate.
Mr. Morrison Davidson—a gentleman well and honourably known in connection with the London Press—has published a short, severe and somewhat satirical sketch of the English Kings. The sketches are done with great skill and smartness and the declamation is trenchant and effective. It is a scathing criticism of modern Liberalism interwoven and illustrated by facts and arguments drawn from the lives of our monarchs.
—Newcastle Daily Chronicle.
It is a history of Royal blackguardism; eloquent and spirited but not always logical or even fair.
Mr. Davidson is, however, an able and vigorous writer, and those who do not share his opinions will read his criticism on the Royalties of England with interest.
It is written from a thoroughly democratic and revolutionary standpoint; and even those who do not adopt its views may appreciate its vigorous treatment of the topic with which it deals.
Mr. Morrison Davidson shows up with merciless severity the shortcomings of our Kings and Queens. The book is written with great ability, but the tone is characterised more by the vehemence of the pleader than by the calmness of the judge.
Its thoroughness raises a doubt as to its honesty. It should be read, but read with reserve and inquiry.
—Eastern Morning News.
A wholesome spirit runs through the whole work. Every line should be read by all who either believe or believe not in Kings.
Now and again efforts have been made to bring to light the real characteristics of the Kings and Queens of England. Possibly the most vigorous and truthful work upon the subject is the "New Book of Kings." Mr. Morrison Davidson spares no one; and he gives evidence of his statements. Every political or historical student should have the "New Book of Kings."
A perusal of "The New Book of Kings" will astonish the student of political history as to the number of evil things which can be raked together to the prejudice of Monarchs.
—Edinburgh Daily Review.
His criticism of past and present English Royalty is often fair enough but it is often coarse and altogether out of proportion.