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MY object in this little book has been to
gather round the person of Ralegh an account of the leading features of the age in which he lived, and by describing the events in which he took part, to show the work which Englishmen had to do in those days, and so briefly to tell the history of the time. I do not pretend to throw any new light upon any of the vexed problems connected with Ralegh's life. I have been much indebted to Mr. Edwardes's excellent collection of Ralegh's letters, and should wish to refer anyone who wishes for further particulars about him to Mr. Edwardes's biography. For the general history I have followed mainly Ranke's History of England, Mr. S. R. Gardiner's History of England, 1603 to 1616, and his Prince Charles and the Spanish Match. Anyone anxious to know more of the history of James I. cannot do better than study Mr. Gardiner's excellent and most interesting books. Ralegh's own account
of his voyages may be found in full either in the Hakluyt Voyages or in the Oxford edition of his works, where are also his political and other writings.
Schomburgh's edition of Ralegh's Discovery of Guiana gives the fullest and most accurate information, and to it I am indebted for my map of the Orinoco.
Mr. Stebbing, in his Life of Bacon, vol. vi., treats at length of the circumstances which led to Ralegh's execution. The whole of the book is full of valuable information about the history of the time.
For the social history, Harrison's Description of England, at the beginning of Holinshed's Chronicle, and lately republished by the New Shakspeare Society, should be consulted. The Sidney Papers, and Sir Christopher Hatton's letters in Nicholas's Life and Times of Sir C. Hatton, give many amusing pieces of court gossip. A vivid picture of social life, and an interesting account of English literature under Elizabeth, will be found in Mr. J. R. Green's History of the English People.