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1/TY object in this little book has been to gather round the person of Ealegh 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 Ealegh's life. I have been much indebted to Mr. Edwardes's excellent collection of Ealegh'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 Eanke's History of England, Mr. S. E. 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. Ealegh'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 Ealegh'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 Ealegh'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. B. Green's History of the English People.
TT is not always the men who have done most -*- round whom the most interest gathers. There are some men whose individual character has had such force, that the impression which they produced on those amongst whom they lived has been handed down to the generations that have come after, and they have been remembered more for what they were than for what they did. The secret of the fame gained by such men lies in the fact that they have summed up in themselves some phase of human thought, or the tendencies of an age full of varied enterprise, or perchance have given the impulse which first directed human activity into a new channel. It is amongst such 'men that we must rank Sir Walter Ealegh. He is one of those who were great rather for what they were than for what they did. And this is not because he did nothing. On the contrary, he did so many things that we should find it hard to say in which part of his career he showed the greatest B .: