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THE SECOND PART.
IN the following pages it has been my first aim, carefully to distinguish the contemporary sources of information for each period from those of later times,—a distinction of primary importance in historical study. In the next place, I have endeavoured, wherever practicable, to supply such an amount of comment as will enable the student to form a fairly accurate notion of each author's value as an authority. In so doing, I have sought to be strictly impartial, and simply to place before the reader the main conclusions of the most recent and approved criticism.
In connexion with Welsh, Irish, and Scottish history, the design of the volume seems to call for nothing further than a reference to the chief authorities for those periods or junctures when the history of one or other of these countries has been most prominently associated with that of England.
Contemporary narrative, however defective or par tial, rarely fails to retain a certain interest and value in after times. But general histories, such as those of Old
mixon, Barnard, Henry, Hume, Smollett, and Sharon Turner, become, for the purposes of research, confessedly obsolete, not simply from their defective method, but as derived from a very imperfect acquaintance with the original manuscript sources. Of these and similar writers I have, accordingly, not considered it necessary to furnish any account.
It will be understood, again, that manuscript sources do not come within the scope of my work. Investigations of such a character would be undertaken only by those who were themselves designing to write history, for whom the present volume is not intended. It has, accordingly, been deemed sufficient to give, at the conclusion of each chapter, some account of the best and most recent works on each period,-productions which now invariably represent research of the kind referred to and rarely fail to indicate the original manuscript authorities.
It is perhaps scarcely necessary to add, that, in a manual like the present, the list of authorities is not exhaustive, still less is it designed to represent the bibliography of our historical literature. But I hope that the amount of guidance offered will be found sufficient to enable the student to pursue his investigations of any period with comparatively little further assist
As regards the different editions of each author, as a rule, only the best is named; of this, in the case of all but the most recent writers, the title-page has generally been transcribed in full.
It only remains for me to express my frequent
indebtedness to Professor Gardiner, with whom I have the honour to be associated in the production of this volume, and by whose advice I have so often profited,especially in connexion with the period of which he possesses an almost unrivalled knowledge. My best thanks are also due to Richard Garnett, Esq., Superintendent of the British Museum Reading Room, for the unvarying courtesy and valuable suggestions with which he has often aided me in the prosecution of researches which could not fail, at times, to be somewhat perplexing and laborious.
The following abbreviations have been used in referring to the publications of different societies and other works of a serial
C. S. Camden Society.
E. E. T. S. Early English Text Society.
E. H. S. English Historical Society.
Hardy, D. C. Hardy (Sir T. D.), Descriptive Catalogue of Materials
relating to the History of Great Britain and Ireland.
M. H. B. Monumenta Historica Britannica.