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O word of ours is necessary to commend the study of
the mirror of the past, and the present and the past are so closely connected that we cannot understand the one without we know something of the other.
Among the happiest associations of the writer's childhood is that of learning-from a loving voice now hushed for ever on this side of the grave-stories from history, and connecting them with pictures which he has by him now. When he was very, very young it was his high ambition to write a history of England, and he did it in a small Roman character, as near like print as he could make it; and he issued it in penny numbers-with illustrations of his own-and attained the enormous and unprecedented circulation of one copy that is, the manuscript copy; for he was his own printer and his own publisher, and the one subscriber who took it in was his own father!
That playing at being an author and a printer and a publisher all combined was very pleasant to him more than twenty years ago. When he grew old enough to read and, in a measure, understand grave historians, he saw something of the learning and the labour their work required—to say nothing of the genius they displayed— and now to write a history is what he would not venture on upon
any account. But he has thought, with the help of all the best books he could get upon the subject-freely acknowledging his sources of information—he might string together some interesting and important events in the ever memorable period which includes the last half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries.
He has tried to find the best authorities and to put the facts impartially before the reader. A profession of impartiality is generally affectation-seldom true-but the writer feels that if his leaning through all the "Stories" has been with the weak and the oppressed-strong only in the strength of their cause-the generous instincts of the reader will be with him, and forgive a hasty expression.
If the "Stories" amuse a leisure hour-if they awaken some lively sense of gratitude to the brave men who fought and died for freedom-if they lead to a closer and far more complete acquaintance with the period in which these heroes lived, and thus serve as a humble key to open a whole library of good, and learned books-if they do any one of these things, the labour of the writer will not be lost, and he will have the happiness of knowing that he has not altogether missed his aim.
LONDON, November 1st, 1864.
ANALYSIS OF CONTENTS.
Honour of heroes-Intentions of the author-Dutchmen's love of liberty-The
Negociations pending between England and Holland-The French king vacil-
THE STORY OF THE THREE HENRIES (A.D. 1588-1610).
Henry of Navarre-Personal appearance, the opposite of Philip of Spain-Henry