Obrázky stránek








In the revision of this short History of England, a good many alterations and, it is to be hoped, improvements have been made, but the general tone of the work itself has been scrupulously preserved.

A few words only are necessary to state the nature of the changes which have been introduced.

1. The Geography has been carefully corrected; several additional names have been inserted in the text, and two maps have been framed with the express object of illustrating the narrative. That of ancient Britain is intended to serve several purposes: to identify the chief ancient names in our island with their modern representatives which accompany them; to trace the course of the principal Roman roads, and the lines of the great Roman fortifications, and to supply the wants of those who, though their geography is chiefly confined to the modern atlas, desire to know somewhat of their own country in older times. The other map has a character of its own. It is intended purely to suit this work. Accordingly, though other names of importance may be given as well, it will be found to contain the cities, rivers, or remarkable localities mentioned in these pages.

This will account for the occurrence of such names as Flodden, Ravensburgh, Clarendon, Runnamede, and the like, for which ordinary maps of England are searched in vain. It should be observed that ranges of hills are not traced on this map. The omission has been made intentionally. The surface was too crowded with names to allow them to be inserted compatibly with clearness.

2. The Chronology has received a good deal of attention. The dates heretofore given have been generally verified, and very many have been added. Tables of the Royal Genealogy, in which nearly every name mentioned in the history will be found, are inserted at intervals. Names are omitted which are of no historical importance, and which would therefore have tended rather to confuse than to assist the scholar.

3. The remaining additions which have been made to the text relate principally to the history of the Church of England. It has been the endeavour of the Reviser to elucidate this at every turn. Accordingly, he has carefully noted whatever is probably ascertained concerning it before Augustine's mission, and, after that date, endeavoured to trace, as well the aggressions made upon the Church from without, as the corruptions which overspread it from within. The partial attempts at Reformation before the period of Henry VIII. have been recorded; and the imperfections of such attempts, even when most earnest, have not been unnoticed. A remarkable instance of this occurs in p. 50; where a most laudable endeavour to promote popular instruction is shown to have been sadly foiled by an overrefinement in the matters on which instruction is to be given. "Let preaching be frequent, and in unlearned language," said the Lambeth Synod in 1281. Thus far all was

well; but, unfortunately, amongst the topics mentioned as necessary to be taught, was the modern statement that "there are Seven Sacraments." The Reformation, and its developments-the chief translations of the Scripturesthe successive revisions of the Prayer Book-the Educational and Missionary efforts of the Church—the foundation of her chief Cathedrals, Colleges, and Public Schools -the character and actions of several of her Archbishops -her relation at different times to the Roman Communion -to the Christian Societies of organization similar to her own, in Scotland and America, and to those bodies in England which have quitted her pale, are recorded in their proper place. A new feature of this edition, and it is believed not an uninteresting or useless one, is the mention of the Archbishops of Canterbury, at the head of each reign, from William the Conqueror to our present Sovereign.

4. No attempt has been made to continue the narrative after the year 1820. The Author paused at this date; and the Reviser has followed his example. Reasons which appear sufficient to warrant this limitation are given in pp. 179–181. It seems almost superfluous to say, that indifference to great principles has not been among the motives which have influenced them.

5. Some selections from English Poets have been appended to the volume. It is hoped that these will be useful to assist the memory, to serve as a praxis upon the narrative, and to give more life and spirit to the study of our English annals than can be expected in a mere compendium. It is possible, too, that many young persons may be thus led to read poetry for the first time; and others, to read it intelligently—that is, with a due regard to the events and

persons which it introduces. They will be pleased at recognizing in Shakspere, or Gray, or Wordsworth, or Bulwer, the personages of whose acts or pretensions, as treated in the narrative, they have perhaps become almost tired; and it may not unreasonably be hoped that the poetry of Edward's Welsh campaign, of the rival Roses, of the sullen Curfew, of the Invincible Armada, will induce them to make further researches into writers of such transforming power. It may be observed also, that the teacher would find the passages given, and others which his own reading would furnish, valuable for examination, without being dry. That young person must be tolerably acquainted with the course of English History, who, in his class, can accompany Gray's bard with a clear account of the characters and events mentioned in it: and his class-fellows would not be fatigued during the process, because the questions and answers would arise naturally out of the passage on which they are occupied at the time.

6. Two inquiries relating to this history remain :-Why are so many events, and persons, and places mentioned? and, Why are no more mentioned than occur in these pages? To the former of these inquiries it may be replied, Several events are mentioned which are treated of more slightly than they would at first seem to deserve: but it is hoped that, in many instances, curiosity will be thus excited, and that the scholar will be induced to pursue his inquiries further, by finding that much remains to be known on several things in which he has been made to take an interest. Besides, it is much more easy to read a larger history when one has already become somewhat acquainted with the principal dramatis persone, the plot, and the scenery, than when the greater part of these are quite strange and unknown. England would be a new and

« PředchozíPokračovat »