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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

And of supervising the Appendices and Index


the Roman and Spanish reports also I found much which deserves to be made known to the readers of history. The papers of Holland and the Netherlands prove still more productive, as I show in detail at the end of the narrative.

A historical work may aim either at putting forward a new view of what is already known, or at communicating additional information as to the facts. I have endeavoured to combine both these aims.


[1] _Note to the third edition._--In the course of my researches for this work the representation of the seventeenth century has occupied a larger space than I at first thought I should have been able to give it; it forms the chief portion of the book in its present form. I have therefore allowed myself the unwonted liberty of altering the title so as to make this clear. Still the representation of the sixteenth century, which is not now mentioned in the title, has not been abridged on this account. The history of the Stuart dynasty and of William III make up the central part of the edifice; what is given to the earlier, as well as the later times may, if I may be allowed the comparison, correspond to its two wings.


'The History of England, principally during the Seventeenth Century,' which is here laid before the reader in

an English form, is one of the most important portions of that cycle of works on which Leopold von Ranke has long been engaged. His History of the Popes, his History of the Reformation in Germany, his French History, his work on the Ottomans and the Spanish Monarchy, his Life of Wallenstein, his volume on the Origin of the Thirty Years' War, and other smaller treatises, all aim at delineating the international relations of the states of Europe. His History of England may well be regarded as the concluding portion of this series; for the relations of England, first with France, and then with Holland, eventually determined the course of European politics.

The book however is more than a history of this period, for Professor Ranke, according to his custom, has prefixed to it a luminous and interesting sketch of the earlier part of our history, presented, as all summaries ought to be, in the form of studies of the most important epochs. And at the end of the work are Appendices, which supply not only happy examples of historical criticism in the discussions on the chief contemporary writers of the period, but also a mass of original documents, most of which have never before been published. Above all, the critiques on Clarendon and Burnet, and the correspondence of William III with Heinsius, will well repay careful study; and the Appendices throw light on some of the more important details connected with the history of the time, besides shewing the student how a great master has found and used his materials.

The present translation was undertaken with the author's sanction, and was intended in the first instance for the use of students in Oxford. Its publication has been facilitated by a division of labour, the eight volumes of the original having been entrusted each to a separate hand. The translators are Messrs. C. W. Boase, Exeter College; W. W. Jackson, Exeter College; H. B. George, New College; H. F. Pelham, Exeter College; M. Creighton, Merton College; A. Watson, Brasenose College; G. W. Kitchin, Christchurch; A. Plummer, Trinity College. The task of oversight, of reducing inequalities of style, and of supervising the Appendices and Index, has been performed by the editors, C. W. Boase and G. W. Kitchin. Notwithstanding the disadvantages incident to a translation, it is hoped that the work in its present shape will be welcomed by a large number of English readers, and will help to increase the deserved renown of the author in the country to the history of which he has devoted such profound and fruitful study.

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