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present edition of the History of the Rebellion has been carefully collated with the original manuscript of lord Clarendon; of which, as well as of the transcript employed by the sons of the noble historian in printing the first edition, it may be expected that some account should be given.
Lord Clarendon began the History of the Rebellion on the 18th of March 164, in the island of Scilly; and continued it to the end of the seventh book, (with portions of the three following books) during his subsequent residence in the island of Jersey, previously to the year 1648, as appears from the dates prefixed to those several portions as they were respectively entered upon, and finished; and that he did not proceed further until some years after his banishment, appears likewise from the same source of information. Indeed, before the completion of this History, it was “supposed by his family a, (and the supposition seems to carry with it great probability,) “ that seeing an unjust and cruel persecu
tion prevail against him, he was induced to alter " the original plan of his work, by writing the par“ ticular history of his own life, from his earliest days down to the time of his disgrace, as the most
* See preface to the first edition of his Life.
“ effectual means of vindicating his character ;-but
afterwards, on more mature thoughts, his great “ benevolence and public spirit prevailed on him to
drop the defence of his own private character, and
resume his original plan of the History of the “ Rebellion.”
But as great portions of the LIFE were to be extracted, and inserted in their proper places in the History, (for which purpose he had introduced in the different manuscripts proper marks and memoranda,) his secretary, Mr. Shaw, was employed to make a fair transcript. This transcript could not have been finished long before lord Clarendon's death; for the original manuscript was not completed till 1673, and his lordship died in the following year. It is natural, therefore, to suppose that the transcript was never revised by the author. Indeed some remarks upon it by archbishop Sancroft, to whom it was submitted, confirm that supposition ; for, to name only one instance, when Shaw had copied into the History a portion from the Life, instead of writing, “ the chancellor of the exchequer,” he inserted the words, “ the person whose life is here set down;" which words, as referring to lord Clarendon, and as relating to his LIFE, were perfectly intelligible, but when introduced into the History of the Rebellion, naturally excited the archbishop's astonishment. Such inaccuracies (of which many more could be given) might of themselves have induced the first editors to procure a more correct copy of their father's work b. Besides, lord Clarendon had in his will directed them to consult archbishop Sancroft and bishop Morley as to the suppression or publication of his manuscripts; and, under this direction, they were doubtless justified in withholding some parts of the history, which, for many reasons, were at that moment unfit for publication. Certain it is, that when lord Clarendon revised his ninth book in the summer of 1671, it was his decided opinion, that the pulse of the nation would not be able to bear such medicines. “Wherefore,” says he," as I “ first undertook this difficult work with his (king “ Charles I.) approbation, and by his encourage“ ment, and for his vindication ; so I enter upon “ this part of it, principally, that the world may “ see (at least if there ever be a fit season for such “ a communication, which is not likely to be in " the present age) how difficult it was for a prince, “ reduced to those straits his majesty was in, to find “ ministers and instruments equal to the good work “ that was to be done.”
But in addition to this, the immediate descendants of several of the principal actors in that tragedy were
Accordingly under the di- scribed by Mr. Wogan, a Westrection of Dr. Sprat, (then dean minster scholar, and the reof Westminster, and after- mainder by Mr. Low, the biwards bishop of Rochester,) shop's secretary. the first five books were tran
alive; many were high in favour", and deservedly so, with the reigning monarch; others were connected with the noble editors by a political tied, if not by the closer link of friendship or alliance. The state of our foreign relations likewise operated no doubt in the same way, by preventing the insertion of the long, circumstantial, and for the most part unfavourable, characters of the Spanish ministry, while a fear of tediousness would cause the omission of many pages respecting the amusement of the toros, &c. at Madrid, when their father was ambassador at the court of Spain. Even without any of the foregoing reasons, distance of time might have blunted the edge of their animosities; common charity might have influenced them somewhat to soften even the merited severity of the historian €; or to omit an unfavourable part of a character not absolutely necessary to illustrate any particular transaction. The
c See the account of the conduct and escape of lord keeper Finch, inserted in Appendix B. in vol. i. and bishop Warburton's remark upon it, vol. vii.
d In the beginning of the sixth book, “ the pleasant story " then much spoken of at court" loses much of its point by the suppression of the names of the persons concerned in that transaction; their names will be found inserted, from lord Cla
rendon's MS. in the notes to this edition.
e In the character of bishop Williams, the expression “he
was the most generally abominated,” is altered to “he " was generally unacceptable." And once lord Clarendon shews his high displeasure of the Scottish nation by calling them “ the vermin," which expression his sons suppressed.
f As in the character of lord Arundel.