England in the Reign of Charles II - Vol. 1

England in the Reign of Charles II - Vol. 1

England in the Reign of Charles II - Vol. 1

England in the Reign of Charles II - Vol. 1

Excerpt

This book is not a biography of Charles II, but an attempt to depict, as it were in cross-section, one of the most formative stages in the growth of English civilization.

As will be seen from the list of chapter contents, a number of chapters are descriptive or analytical, and the others (distinguished by the addition of dates to their titles) are intended to provide a consecutive narrative of the events of the reign. The distribution of these different types of chapter has been conducted on this principle—in volume i, which brings the narrative down to 1674, there are chapters devoted to social and economic conditions, commercial rivalry, and naval organization, the volume concluding with an account of the last two Anglo-Dutch wars, and the subordination of English policy to France. In volume ii, three chapters in succession (XII, XIII, and XIV) describe the financial, the parliamentarian, and the legal institutions of the period, as an essential preliminary to the two episodes in which these institutions were strained and tested, namely the Popish Plot and the Stuart Reaction. The chapters on Scotland and Ireland and on the Plantations are necessarily of somewhat limited range.

The facilities and assistance placed at the author's disposal have made the preparation of this book a singularly pleasant task, and he wishes to thank heartily all who have helped in either of these ways. To the Most Hon. the Marquess of Bath he is indebted for the privilege of access to several volumes of the Coventry Papers at Longleat. For liberty to use manuscripts in their custody the author owes a debt of thanks to the authorities of New College and Worcester College, Oxford; Magdalene College, Cambridge; Winchester College, and the Royal Society. To Mr. J. P. R. Lyell he owes many references in rare tracts and books. Dr. G. R. Y. Radcliffe helped with the technicalities of law, Dr. Joscelyn Arkell with geology, and Mr. R. V. Lennard with agriculture. Mademoiselle Aliette Charlot of Paris rendered valuable help in the Archives des Affaires Étrangères. Mr. E. S. De Beer kindly read through the typescript and enabled the . . .

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