PALGRAVE (COHEN), SIR FRANCIS:
By: Joseph Jacobs
English historian; born in London July, 1788; died there July 6, 1861; son of Meyer Cohen, a member of the London Stock Exchange. He was an infant prodigy. At the age of eight he made a translation of Homer's "Battle of the Frogs" into French, which was published by his father (London, 1796). In 1823 he changed his name, by royal permission, to Palgrave, and married a daughter of Dawson Turner, the historian. He was trained as a solicitor, but, having embraced Christianity, was called to the bar in 1827, devoting himself to pedigree cases. He had previously shown great interest in the records, drawing up an elaborate plan for their publication; this was approved by the Royal Commission, for which he edited many volumes of records during the decade 1827-37. In 1832 he published "The Rise and Progress of the English Commonwealth," which is generally regarded as the earliest important study of English constitutional history founded on the records. He was knighted in that year, and in 1838 became deputy keeper of Her Majesty's records, in which capacity he issued twenty-two annual reports of great historic value. His most important work is "A History of Normandy and England," 4 vols., London, 1851-63.
Palgrave had four sons, each of whom attained distinction of various kinds: Francis Turner Palgrave (1824-1902), editor of "Golden Treasury of English Songs and Lyrics," and professor of poetry at Oxford; William Gifford Palgrave (1826-88), Eastern traveler, and author of "A Year's Journey Through Central and Eastern Arabia" (London, 1865), and other works; Robert Harry Inglis Palgrave (b. 1827), editor of "The Dictionary of Political Economy"; and Sir Reginald Francis Douce Palgrave (1829-1903), clerk of the House of Commons.
- Gentleman's Magazine, 1861, part ii., pp. 441-445;
- Dict. Nat. Biog.