ENGLAND BEFORE ELIZABETH
THE preceding pages have been devoted mainly to the affairs of the Netherlanders. I have attempted to sketch the progress of their civilization, and to show the nature of the conflict which they were waging against the mightiest power on the globe. It is now time to direct our eyes across the Channel, and to inquire into the condition of England and her people when these Puritans of Holland, fighting for civil and religious liberty, were to broaden the field of conflict by taking in their neighbors. To this subject, therefore, the attention of the reader is invited. Following the method adopted with relation to the Netherlands, I shall first discuss the influences which made the England of this age, and shall then, in subsequent chapters, treat somewhat in detail of domestic life and manners, industrial pursuits, private and public morals, education, religion, the organization of society, the administration of justice, and such other matters as historians, until recently, have usually ignored. Wars and political intrigues, although important in their way, will here find no more space than is necessary to elucidate their effects on the civilization of the people.
The materials for this description are ample enough, and yet every writer who attempts to tell the truth about the Elizabethan age must approach the subject with some diffidence. In the first place, it is no easy task to reproduce, although imperfectly, the features of