Few words of introduction are necessary to this book. I need scarcely say that it does not profess to be a record in any completeness of the life and reign of Charles II. It is little more than the result of an endeavour to trace in outline the influences which acted upon the inherited qualities of Charles himself, and which made him what we know him to have been at thirty years of age; and, in the second place, to give some idea of the illimitable confusion into which the domestic policy of England, her social morality, and her foreign relations, alike fell, because, at the moment when the reaction towards kingship in the House of Stuart had obscured other considerations, and when the loosening of all ties, social, moral, and political, had left the soil vacant for the seed of evil example, such a monarch came to the throne. Limited however as was my scope, it appeared that, in dealing with Charles from early boyhood . . .