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A false description of a person's appearance will also give a false description of their character; a careless touch of this nature will considerably mislead the reader.
The Revolution of 1688 may or may not have been "glorious"; to most it has come to mean the beginning of an era of settled government, of commercial prosperity, of religious freedom, of parliamentary rule and popular liberty; to others it has come to mean the end of the old glories of Kingship, the loss of the legitimate royal family, the intrusion of the ideals of the merchant and the wealthy middle class, the tyranny of democracy and the drab uniformity of a Calvinized Protestantism, tinging deeply not only the Church but the nation at large; all agree in calling the eighteenth century "the age of prose," all agree that 1688 marked a change, both wide and deep, in the history of England, and that this could not have been accomplished, as it was accomplished, with well-organized smoothness, without bloodshed (in England at least), without even dislocation of ancient laws, customs or traditions, if such a man as William of Orange, a statesman the equal of Richelieu, possessed of a rare combination of daring in design and prudence in execution, had not been at hand; this revolution and this man definitely pitted England against France, set her in a place of importance and power she had not occupied since the rule of Cromwell, helped her to break for ever the pretensions of the Bourbons (Treaty of Utrecht, 1714) and, in a sense, assume these pretensions herself; this may have been either for better or worse.Among the many German books on this subject may be mentioned the classic Der Fall des Hauses Stuart, by O. In French there are Waddington's Frdric Guillaume de Brandenbourg and Les Provinces-Unies, and Jean de Witt, by Lefvre Pontalis, M.Klopp; Der Grosse Kurfrst, by Philipson; the massive works of Ranke; Waldeck und Wilhelm III, by Muller; Wilhelm III von England und das Haus Wittelsbach, by G. de Sgur's Le Prince d'Orange et le Marchal de Luxembourg and Louis XIV et Innocent XI, by Michaud. Lord Macaulay's History deals, of course, only with William III as King of England, and from a narrow point of view, while his exaltation of him as the Whig Champion roused a reaction of dissent; Professor G. Trevelyan in England under the Stewarts gives the English side of affairs, and the best English history of the Netherlands is that by the Rev. Contemporary sources are, obviously, in such number that a list of them would be out of proportion to a book of this pretension; for this reason no bibliography is given; it would have to be either exhaustingly long or an arbitrary selection; many of these sources, such as Burnet's History, Temple's Works, the diaries of Pepys and Evelyn, Clarendon's History, etc., are English classics, others are rare and inaccessible to the reader without time and patience; nearly all the archives of Europe contain material for the life of William III.Surveying, then, a history which appears to have taught us nothing, and be leading us no further—for who can now accept the neat, self-satisfied definitions with which party historians strove to prove their points? Always, one thinks, the character and actions of individual men and women, people whose common humanity was tempered and influenced by their positions and environments and the peculiar questions of their times; these were more similar than at first appears, small exterior differences of customs, problems, local atmosphere, are apt to be much exaggerated; the mainsprings of human character have remained unchanged; ambition, spirituality, love, hate, self-interest, self-sacrifice, lust for fame, for power, for money, struggling with piety, asceticism, altruism; all played upon by circumstance, by environment, by the actions of others, in brief, the one theme of fact and fiction alike when it treats with humanity, man's dealing with his destiny—what interest is there save this?The following is an account of the childhood and youth of a man who, by reason of his position and his character, has constantly occupied the attention of his fellows, been extravagantly lauded, fiercely slandered, blamed for much for which he could not, perhaps, have been responsible, and praised for much that was, perhaps, not owing to him, but by all admitted to have been one who by sheer force of moral and mental qualities had, as one of his enemies remarked, "the honour of being for thirty years the first personage in Europe." A man who could, in any period, have held such a position, could have achieved a prominence that excited both the deep admiration and bitter fury of his contemporaries, must furnish material for a relation of more than ordinary interest; it is, however, a relation that has scarcely hitherto been undertaken.
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Among letters may be mentioned the correspondence of Lord Arlington, Sir William Temple, Sir George Savile, Algernon Sidney, Lady Russell, D'strades, D'Avaux, as the better known and more easily obtained; the letters of William III are scattered through many volumes and many collections; a number referring to the earlier part of his life are in Wilhelm Van Orangien und G. v, 1650-1688); this includes much correspondence dealing with William III's childhood and the letters of Prince John Maurice of Nassau-Siegen, and William III, 1673. Gourville, of the Marquis de Saint Maurice, the Journaal of William III's secretary, the younger Constantine Huygens, and the correspondence of his father, most loyal servant of the House of Orange, and father of Christian Huygens the great philosopher, which has been excellently edited; as much cannot be said for the Journaal and the Archives, etc.