Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dunham, Samuel Astley

DUNHAM, SAMUEL ASTLEY, LL.D. (d. 1858), historian, was author of works published in Lardner's ‘Cabinet Cyclopædia.’ All were distinguished by original research and conscientious thoroughness. He wrote: 1. ‘The History of Poland,’ 1831. 2. ‘History of Spain and Portugal,’ 5 vols., 1832–3. This is still accounted the best work on the subject in any language. It obtained for him the distinction of being made a member of the Royal Spanish Academy; and it was translated into Spanish by Alcala Galiano in 1844. 3. ‘A History of Europe during the Middle Ages,’ 4 vols., 1833–4. 4. ‘Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Great Britain,’ 3 vols., 1836–7. These volumes include dramatists and early writers, and were not wholly written by Dunham. 5. ‘History of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway,’ 3 vols., 1839–40. 6. ‘History of the Germanic Empire,’ 3 vols., 1844–5. After this time he was largely occupied with the reviewing of books, and, in his latest years, with biblical work, much of which has never seen the light. He is stated to have had a long and intimate acquaintance with Spain, presumably prior to the writing of his history. He was intimate with Southey, who spoke of his knowledge of the middle ages as marvellous, and he was in close correspondence with Lingard, the historian, who was godfather to one of his sons. His death took place suddenly by paralysis on 17 July 1858. One of his sons is a missionary priest, at present (1888) labouring in the Australian bush.

[Athenæum, 24 July 1858, p. 111; Adams's Manual of Historical Literature, 1882; Brit. Mus. Cat.; communications from Mr. Samuel Dunham.]

C. W. S.