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“Half-TOURS OF English History," although forming a Companion to the “HALF-HOURS WITH THE BEST AUThoks,” differs in several particulars from the plan of that Work.
1. Although the articles, taken on an average, will each furnish reading for about a Hall-Hour, they cannot, from the nature of the work, be so arranged as to supply continuous reading for every day and week of the year.
2. They are not selected as specimens of the excellence of style, although many articles are necessarily taken from those who may be included amongst "the best Authors”; but chiefly as affording a succession of the more graphic parts of English History, chronologically arranged.
The Editor was led to the conception of his plan, from the consideration that the portions of History upon which general readers, and the young especially, delight to dwell, are those which tell some story which is complete in itself, or which furnish some illustration which has a separate as well as a general interest.
This Volume, which extends from the Roman period to the end of the reign of Elizabeth, is, with some few exceptions, necessarily drawn from modern sources. The early Chroniclers tell so much that is fabulous of conflicting, that they afford little assistance. But as we approach the period when History becomes more exact-when actual observers—such as Froissart and Clarendon,-relate the scenes they have witnessed with the spirit which always belongs to real impressions—and philosophical aunalists such as Bacon and Camden draw from authentic documents or vivid traditions —we shall find ample materials in the original sources. In such as these we have to search for narratives that have charms rarely found in any historical digest. Beyond thiese, we have the Memoir-writers, and the Auto.biographers, in whose pages we have those pictures of manners without which History is too often a record of court intrigues and aimless wars.
The principle which has guided the introduction of Dramatic Scenes, whether original
60. The Wars of Mercia
113. Bayeux Tapestry