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PREFACE

My first studies in the history of the times dealt with in this book appeared in two articles on “The Republicans of the Commonwealth” in the Westminster Review for July 1871 and January 1873. Since then I have kept on collecting books, and visiting places of interest connected with the civil

wars.

It would form a fine illustration of the inconstancy of fame to pass in review the wanderings of historio. graphers in devious and opposite ways about the characters of the great actors, and the nature of the events of that wonderful time. It is often said that facts are stubborn things; in this field of history they have proved more flexible than fiction.

I have, avoiding controversies, tried to make the facts cry out. My own views have been formed from a study of original documents. Later histories and commentaries thereon I have not read, or only looked at after my pages were composed, in order to see if they have cited any authorities not already consulted by me.

It would, however, be ungrateful not to acknowledge the help and guidance which I have derived from the works of Mr John Forster and Mr Bisset.

In composing this biography I soon saw that it was necessary to give an account of the great events in which the life of the statesman was merged, many of which have been discoloured or shown in false proportions, through the prejudices and petulance of some writers, and the indolent acquiescence of others.

It is not to the credit of England that she has done so little honour to Sir Henry Vane compared with the appreciation of the historians of the United States. The people of the Great Republic have not forgotten the help Vane gave in the foundation of the colonies of New England. Yet the claims of justice have increasing strength in the present age, and the memory of Sir Henry Vane has claims which will yet be more fully recognised.

WILLIAM W. IRELAND,

2nd October 1905.

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