Philanthropy in England, 1480-1660: A Study of the Changing Pattern of English Social Aspirations

Philanthropy in England, 1480-1660: A Study of the Changing Pattern of English Social Aspirations

Philanthropy in England, 1480-1660: A Study of the Changing Pattern of English Social Aspirations

Philanthropy in England, 1480-1660: A Study of the Changing Pattern of English Social Aspirations

Excerpt

This is the first of a series of volumes dealing with the changing pattern of men's aspirations for their society during a long and critical period in the history of western Europe. The present volume is an essay commenting on the subject and presenting conclusions drawn from a considerable mass of available evidence. In the very nature of the case the whole of the research had to be completed and the later volumes written in first draft before it was possible to undertake this essay. The second projected volume will deal in some detail with the philanthropic impulse in the English urban society, attention being confined to London, where a rich, an incredibly generous, and a most articulate merchant aristocracy was in the course of our period to lay solidly the foundations of liberal institutions not only in the metropolis but throughout England. The third volume will consider at length the changing structure of men's aspirations in rural England, with documentation supplied from a sampling of counties in various parts of the realm. There will remain studies of several additional rural counties and of Bristol, an urban complex second in importance only to London. It is hoped that these may be published separately in appropriate periodicals.

Many years have elapsed since this study was begun under the kindly auspices of a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. The work has been sustained through the years by most helpful subventions from the American Philosophical Society, Harvard University, and Radcliffe College. More recently it has been brought to completion with the help of a generous grant from the Ford Foundation which made it possible to complete the research, to assemble and assess the materials, and to reduce the data to statistical order. These volumes will record the benefactions of many men of an earlier age; the author's experience would suggest that even the slow and fumbling efforts of the student of history are not without their support by equally generous donors in these later days.

The gathering of the materials for these volumes has required work in the principal libraries and archives in England and the United States, where in every instance the author has met with courteous and patient treatment. The work has imposed particularly heavy burdens on the staffs of Somerset House, York Minster, and many district registries, and for their most helpful assistance we would express our deepest gratitude.

W. K. J.

Cambridge, Massachusetts

January, 1958 . . .

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