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TUDORS AND STUARTS:
A HISTORY OF
TWO CENTURIES OF REVOLUTION.
EXPRESSLY ARRANGED AND ANALYZED FOR THE USE OF
BY JAMES BIRCHALL,
GOVERNMENT LECTURER IN HISTORY, TRAINING COLLEGE, YORK; AND AUTHOR OF
ENGLAND UNDER THE NORMANS AND PLANTAGENETS,”
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, & CO.
This volume, having been drawn up on the same principles, and for the same express objects, as my former one on the Normans and Plantagenets, little need here be said beyond a few words upon the more prominent features which distinguish the following pages.
As the second part of the title indicates, the Reformation and the Revolution, the two great religious and political crises which disturbed the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, have been brought out into strong relief; their progress has been carefully traced, and their connection with each other, and surrounding events, invariably pointed out.
Thus, with regard to the Reformation, the Italian Wars, their effect upon Henry VIII.'s divorce, and the influence of both upon the abolition of papal supremacy in England, will be found somewhat elaborately described, as well as Henry's exercise of that novel and formidable power which the assumption of supremacy placed in his hands.
Elizabeth's transactions with the Scots, the Huguenots, and the Dutch, have been related under the same view. In the third chapter, the student's attention is solely confined to the Reformation, not only in its doctrinal character, but as a movement on the part of the laity against the usurpations of clerical authority, and the encroachments of the spiritual courts. Those who have studied those portions of my former text-book, in which the long disputes between these courts and those of the common law are narrated and explained, will appreciate the importance which is attached, in the present work, to this lay aspect of the Reformation. In the subsequent chapters, especially those upon the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and her two immediate successors, the rise of Puritanism and Protestant Nonconformity, the enforcement of Roman Catholic disabilities, the origin of the High Church party, and the religious controversies which entered so largely into the disputes which gradually widened themselves into the Civil War, will be found the topics of numerous interesting paragraphs.
In the next place, with regard to the Revolution, meaning, by that term, the entire political movement which, beginning in the reign of King James the First, gradually advanced, through varied fortunes, till it had expelled an incorrigible race of unconstitutional sovereigns from the constitutional throne of England, the same endeavour has been made, diligently to bring its successive stages, and the principles involved in it, before the student's mind. The contests between James the First and his parliaments, as well as those which embittered the early years of his son's reign; the doctrines of absolute government which the courtiers enunciated in them, and in the trials of Hampden and others; and the opposite principles of the popular party—are all fully explained and set forth at large : while, in the history of the Civil War, the great military operations are described with that minuteness and attention to geographical detail, necessary to a thorough comprehension of military movements:-the physical features of the battle-grounds, the positions of the contending armies, and those maneuvres which decided the fate of the dayare described in precise and regular order. For the first time, I believe, in a work which is merely intended for schools and colleges, the character of Cromwell, and the English Commonwealth, as depicted to us by such able writers as Godwin, Forster, Guizot, and Carlyle, is now given. A careful analysis of all the Protector's speeches to his pårliaments has also been inserted. In the chapters upon the period after the Restoration, the rise and early growth of modern political parties in England, and the great political agitations which then disturbed the country, occupy a prominent place. The Revolution of 1688 has been fully described in all its essential features.
While, however, the accounts of these two great movements form, as it were, the two main channels along which the narrative flows, the domestic history of the people has not been neglected. The growth of colonisation and maritime discovery has been recounted at great length; as well as the progress of the national prosperity in arts and manufactures, and in the refinements of literature and civilisation.
In brief, it has been my object throughout, as it was on a former occasion, to furnish the student with such a full and accurate history of the period, as should not only serve him as a text-book for the public examinations, but as a manual for teaching, in which he should find all the matter ready to his hand, logically arranged, and clearly analysed, with references to lead him to those writers whose works are received with the greatest authority. On all occasions the best authors have been consulted ; and I may mention that, even while the work was going through the press, those parts were altered and amended which the publication of Hepworth Dixon's able vindication of Lord Bacon, and of Forster's “ Arrest of the Five Members,"