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PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.

THE history of Saxon England has been generally considered as too little known, and too full of those rather physical than moral revolutions that belong to a barbarous state of society, to present matter of great interest to ordinary readers. It must be allowed that the wars of the Heptarchy appear somewhat irregular and tumultuary, and that the state of society was often so disorganized as to preclude the exhibition of the great principles of policy or legislation. But there were elements at work through the whole period which must be understood by every one who would understand history, and which too many historians not only neglect but depreciate. The object of the following Lectures is to give due prominence to these, and, at the

same time, by a lively manner of sketching the several incidents, to impress the whole history on the memory and imagination. They are in substance the work of a lady who has devoted a considerable length of time both to the study of the longer historians of recent date, and to that of many early chronicles. Some little discretion has been exercised in revision, with the author's consent, but the main character of the work has not been materially altered, and most of the details remain as originally written.

The aim has not been, in any great degree, original research, but rather such a use of the well-known materials as might place the principal incidents vividly before the eye, and explain the action of the Church in leavening society, and the pious efforts of holy men in Church and State, as well as the achievements of statesmen and warriors. It is hoped that something has been done toward enabling the youthful reader to realise the part and place of British

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Christians in the great array of the armies of the Living God, and to follow through history the lines of action, and to mark the points of conflict, in which man's highest duties and interests have been concerned.

The reader must not expect to find all histories agree with what is here presented. There are in some cases conflicting statements, amongst which it has been necessary to make choice. In other instances modern historians have dealt freely in conjecture, and have confidently asserted what they had no grounds for believing, but that it seemed to account for facts, and to accord with their view of characters.

It has been the wish of the author to give conjecture as conjecture, and only to state as if certain what is at least attested by credible ancient witnesses. But there may be cases here, as in other books, in which imagination has given too strong a tone of confidence, and feeling has overpast the limits of certainty. In such cases, how

ever, the reader will still find what was the author's sincere and deliberate conviction, after the perusal of numerous accounts, and what has been assumed as fairly representing the upshot of the evidence as we have it. No small benefit will be gained if the young student is enabled to remember and take interest in the early history of our country, and is taught to exercise the mind on it, and prepared for the more intelligent perusal of larger works and original docu

ments.

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