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EXTRACTED FROM AND DELIVERED IN THE VERY WORDS OF SOME OF THE MOST AUTHENTIC AND CELEBRATED HISTORIANS, VIZ. CLARENDON, WHITELOCK, BURNET, COKE, ECHARD, RAPIN,
TINDAL, NEAL, &c.
(THE THIRD EDITION PRINTED 1811.)
There is no part of the English History, probably, which hath been so greatly misrepresented, or which is generally at present so lilile understood, as the reign of the unhappy prince of which the following papers treat.
I shall not here inquire into the cause of this ignorance, nor observe the huriful effect it has had upon society: how much it hath been abused to corrupt the principles of the people ; to inflame and pervert their passions, and to perpeluate animosities which every good Briton wishes to see eternally extinguished and forgot. Nor shall I make any apology for publishing this collection, though it may seem in some places 10 bear hard upon a royal characier to which much incense has been offered up. Whatever sacredness there may may be in such exalted characters, the truth of history is more sacred : a reverence for this only, hath produced the following Essay; which is undertaken with a sincere desire of informing my fellow subjects as to the transactions of a reign which hath generally, not in private only, but in the most public and sacred places, been represented to the people in extremely fallacious colours. Too great complaisance to the errors of the past age, may be cruelty to the present; one principal use of history is to point out the misconducts and follies of former times, to serve as warnings and instructions to those who come after.
It was a saying worthy that glory of the Stuart fa. mily, and indeed of the British nation, Queen Mary II. When reflections were made in her presence upon the sharpness of some historians, who had left heavy imputations upon the memory of some princes, her majesty replied—“ If those princes were truly such as the bis.