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ASTOR. "E"..X AND
T. & T. CLARK, EDINBURGH. LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT, AND CO. LIMITED.
NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS.
Two things need to be stated respecting these four lectures : (1) they were not written with a view to publication; (2) they were not written with the expectation of supplying anything that was very original.
(1) The lectures were written to excite the interest, or refresh the memories, of those who asked for them and came to listen to them ; in the hope that some might thereby be induced to begin, or return to, independent study of the momentous period in which the lectures attempt to point out some leading features. They were not produced with the anticipation of making a permanent addition to the abundant literature on the subject: and when the project of publishing them was first urged upon the lecturer by some of those who heard him, he put aside the proposal on the ground that the lectures were probably of too ephemeral a character to merit preservation after they had served their immediate purpose. But when the request for publication became frequent, and when he was assured by those whose judgment weighed
much with him, that the lectures, if printed, would be of real use, both to those who heard them and to many more who had not done so, he was shaken in this opinion. And when the clergy who attended the Summer School of Theology at Durham in July 1904 made a formal request for the publication of these four studies in English Church History, he was induced to go so far as to consult his old friends, Messrs. T. & T. Clark of Edinburgh, as to what might be done with prudence. Their reply was so encouraging that he began to prepare the lectures for publication. In doing so he has thought it best to leave them almost unaltered. Their form shows that they were meant for vivå voce delivery and were not composed as historical disquisitions. Hence the frequent use of italics, indicating what was underlined for emphasis in reading aloud. An attempt to abolish this form would rob them of their primitive character, without increasing their value; they would cease to be lectures, but would not become anything better. The real difference between the lectures as published and as delivered, is that a certain number of paragraphs, which had to be abbreviated or omitted in delivery, in order to keep within the limits of an hour, are now given in full, and that the notes have been increased.
(2) The writer does not suppose that he has much that is original to offer. It is true that, in preparing this volume, original and contemporaneous sources have to a considerable extent been used;
and it is possible that some of the points urged have not been urged before, or at least not in the
But, in the main, these lectures are based upon, and in some particulars are directly derived from, modern works which are accessible to every one.
A list of these is given below, and the writer's debt to some of them is large. He believes that it is largest in the case of two historians whom he had the happiness of knowing,—Bishop Creighton and Leopold von Ranke. He took part with the former and four others in translating the History of England of the latter into English. Mr. W. H. Hutton's book was also very useful for the reign of Charles I. What should have been an earlier volume in the same series (Mr. W. H. Frere on Elizabeth and James I.) has been delayed in publication, and the lecturer had no opportunity of consulting it.
In treating of a period about which Englishmen feel so strongly as the great religious and political struggles of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it is perhaps impossible to be wholly impartial. But it is possible to try to be fair; and the attempt has been made in these lectures. We should have much less disputing, and our controversies would be much more fruitful, if each side would resolutely endeavour to see the matter in dispute from the point of view of the other side, before giving utterance to severe criticisms and sweeping condemnations.
And there is another peril with regard to this period from which it is difficult wholly to escape. It may easily be thought by some readers that the amount of secular history that is touched upon in lectures which profess to deal with English Church History is rather large. But, throughout this whole period, ecclesiastical and political causes and effects are inextricably intertwined, and it is impossible to make either the religious or the secular side of the history intelligible, without saying a great deal about the other. Nevertheless, it is only too possible that in this case the right proportion between the two has not always been maintained. The difficulty of knowing precisely what to omit, when so much had of necessity to be omitted, has throughout been very considerable.
The trouble of preparing this little volume for publication will be amply repaid, if it induces a few more people to become acquainted with some of the books which were used in producing it; and perhaps with some of the far larger number, which ought to have been employed, but which, owing to the writer's want of knowledge or of opportunity, were left unused. Some idea of the size of the latter class may be obtained by a glance at the cruelly copious Bibliography in the first two volumes of the Cambridge Modern History.
The following are the principal modern works that have been used :
Anon., The Life and Correspondence of Lord Bacon.