This is a study of the histories of the English Civil War or some aspects of it written in England or by Englishmen and Englishwomen or publish ed in England up to 1702, the year of the publication of the first volume of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion. By the terms of this definition, Clarendon is himself, of course, one of the historians studied. Clarendon's History is so formidable an achievement that all historians writing about the war before its publication have an air of prematureness. Nevertheless, as I hope the following pages will show, they produced a body of writing which may still be read with interest and profit and which anticipated many of the ideas and attitudes of Clarendon's History. I will even go so far as to say that many readers who have only a limited interest or no in terest in the Civil War are likely to find many of these historians interest ing, should their works come to their attention, for their treatment of the problems of man in society, for their psychological acuteness, and for their style. But while I intend to show their merits, my main concern will be to show how the Civil War appeared to historians, including Clarendon, who wrote within one or two generations after it, that is to say, at a time when it remained part of the experience of people still alive. A word is necessary on terminology.
James VI and I was the first king to rule both England and Scotland. He was unique among British monarchs in his determination to communicate his ideas by means of print, pen, and spoken word. James's own work as an author is one of the themes of this volume. One essay also sheds new light on his role as a patron and protector of plays and players. A second theme is the king's response to the problems posed by religious divisions in the British Isles and Europe as a whole. Various contributors to this collection elucidate James's own religious beliefs and their expression, his efforts before 1603 to counter a potential Catholic claim to the English throne, his attempted appropriation of scripture in support of his own authority, and his distinctive vision of imperial kingship in Britain. Some different reactions to the king, to his expression of his ideas and to the implementation of his policies form this book's third theme. They include the vigorous resistance to his attempt to change Scottish religious practice, and the sharply contrasting assessments of his life and reign written after James's death.
with some illustrious foreigners : containing many passages from important letters ; Accompainied by concise biographical memoirs, and interesting extracts from the original documents ; by John Gough Nichols