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This volume is a collection of prominent and familiar scenes in the history of the period between the Reformation and the French Revolution, described in the words of standard historians or of credible eye-witnesses or contemporaries. These extracts having been chosen not only with the view of giving specimens of the different styles of historical writing, but also, as far as possible, so as to present characteristic features of the age and country to which they refer, it is hoped that the book may be of use in illustrating the course of history and stimulating the curiosity of young readers ; though the Editor is sensible that, having been confined to picturesque scenes, he may seem to have neglected many of the most important transactions of the period. Since variety also is to be considered in a work of this kind, many celebrated events have been excluded from the plan ; and some less known scenes have been inserted for the sake of giving an idea of the spirit and circumstances of the time.
Such a plan could not have been adequately carried out if . the Editor had not been permitted to make selections from the copyright works of recent authors. For such courteous permission, his most sincere thanks are due to Mr. Thomas Carlyle, Mr.
J. Lothrop Motley, Mr. Hepworth Dixon, and to the representatives of the late Dr. Seaton Reid ; also to Messrs. Bell and Sons, Mr. Murray, Messrs. Longmans and Co., Messrs. Chatto and Windus, Messrs. H. S. King and Co., Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons, Messrs. Lippincott and Co., Messrs. W. Blackwood and Sons, Messrs. Oliver and Boyd, and Messrs. W. and R. Chambers. In the case of one or two other authors, with whom he has not succeeded in being able to communicate, it is hoped that they or their representatives will not object to the use that has been made of extracts from their works. And the Editor cannot conclude without expressing his great obligations to M. Raffy's Lectures d'Histoire Moderne, a work that has a high educational value, and might well be better known in the upper classes of English schools.