HISTORY OF HOLLAND and the Dutch Nation
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE TENTH TO THE END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
Including an account of the municipal institutions, commercial pursuits, and social habits of the people
The rise and progress of the protestant reformation in Holland.
The intestine dissentious foreign wars
BY C. M. DAVIES.
In Three Volumes
LONDON: G.Willis, Great Piazza,Covent Garden MDCCCXLI
At a period such as the present, when the general appetite for knowledge is at once quickened and satiated by all that is pungent in wit, delicate in sentiment, rich in learning, and novel in science—when, by the plastic hand of modern invention, history herself is made to suit the alluring garb of romance—it is with diffidence that I solicit attention to a work which has nothing but fidelity to recommend it, and of which the subject, deeply interesting in itself, but deficient perhaps in some of the subsidiary attractions incidental to historical narrative, requires a pen of more than ordinary ability to do it justice. It is not an overweening vanity or presumption that has prompted me on this occasion; not that, unawed by the high and grave duties of an historian, I have ventured upon them in wanton recklessness, or blind ignorance of my own incapacity, or touched without trembling the very lowest hem of the mantle of Livy and Tacitus; but in the conviction that it is the duty of every one to cast his mite, however humble, into the treasury of human knowledge; in the consciousness that if I shall have done little to enlighten, I have in no one instance willfully contributed to the propagation or continuance of error; in the hope of proving useful to those who, like myself, have felt the disadvantage to which the English reader of history is subject, of knowing nothing of the internal government, constitution, laws, and habits of a people, whose name, celebrated throughout the world, is to be met with on nearly every page of the history of Europe. It is with the view of presenting this knowledge in a compendious form that the following Work has been composed, of which, as I have said, the chief recommendation is fidelity; and, in order that my readers may advance with confidence in this yet almost untrodden path, I have not hesitated to incur the imputation both of tediousness and pedantry, by quoting an authority for the statement of every, even the most simple fact; and I have likewise pointed out the exact place in the author where the passage referred to is to be found, so as to give every facility for the discovery and correction of any error into which I may have fallen. In cases where facts have been differently represented by different writers, I have given the preference to such contemporary authors as had the best opportunities of becoming acquainted with the truth, or whose penetration and integrity render them most worthy to be relied on: where these fail me, I have had recourse to such compilers as are most generally esteemed for judgment and research; and having done this, I have forborne to enter into tedious discussions of facts, which after all may be of comparatively slight importance, and lengthened disquisitions on autWs which are never likely to fall into the hands of the generality of readers.
But though neither time nor labor has been spared, the Work falls still far short of the model framed for it in my own mind. Would that the task might be undertaken by-some more skilful hand,—by one who to equal earnestness and patience may unite infinitely more talent and opportunity; and who, undeterred by the difficulties he will enCounter, and of which more than a due share has fallen to my lot, may convince himself and the world of the real value and abundance of that mine from whence I have failed to extract gems.