annals of the first four years of the reign of queen elizabeth

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: INTRODUCTION. When some future Hallam, or, I would rather say, when Mr. Hallam, in some future edition of his History of European Literature, shall have bestowed a critical attention upon the works of our national historians, the author of the following Annals will be found to have occupied a prominent literary position. Amongst the many consequences which followed upon the Introduction of Printing into England, one of the earliest was, that it made our history popular. Caxton's Chronicle effected, in that respect, a change which, half a century later, would have been the result of the dissolution of the monasteries. It withdrew History from the exclusive care of the Church, and taught her to speak the language, and appeal directly to the feelings, of the people. But the vernacular chroniclers who succeeded the monastic writers of history, were little conscious of the importance of their task. They followed in the footsteps of the humblest of their predecessors, and seldomaimed at any higher mark than that of being found faithful and diligent annalists. They were industrious collectors of facts, pains-taking chronologists, honest narrators, but, as a body, were totally devoid of that power of description which makes manifest the truth respecting past events in such manner as to render it conducive to the instruction of mankind. In such hands History lost much of its usefulness and all its dignity, and greatly is it to be regretted that this depression of historical literature took place at a time when, in other departments of human knowledge, our intellectual strength was at its height; when Poetry shone with pre-eminent brilliancy, and the profoundest depths of Theology were investigated with an acuteness which has never been surpassed. No doubt there were many men...
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