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In order to do justice to them within moderate limits it is necessary to suppress much that has a purely biographical, party, or military interest; and I have also not hesitated in some cases to depart from the strict order of chronology. The history of an institution or a tendency can only be written by collecting into a single focus facts that are spread over many years, and such matters may be more clearly treated according to the order of subjects than according to the order of time.

It will appear evident, I think, from the foregoing sketch, that this book differs widely from the very valuable history of Lord Stanhope, which covers a great part of the same period. Two writers, dealing with the same country and the same time, must necessarily relate many of the same events; but our plans, our objects, and the classes of facts on which we have especially dwelt, are so very different that our books can hardly, I hope, come into any real competition; and I should much regret if it were thought that the present work had been written in any spirit of rivalry, or with any wish to depreciate the merits of its predecessor. Lord Stanhope was not able to bring to his task the artistic talent, the power, or the philoso phical insight of some of his contemporaries; but no one can have studied with care the period about which he wrote without a feeling of deep respect for the range and accuracy of his research, for the very unusual skill which he displayed in the difficult art of selecting from great multitudes of facts those which are truly characteristic and significant, and, above all, for his transparent honesty of purpose, for the fulness and fairness with which he seldom failed to recount the faults of those with whom he agreed and the merits of those from whom he differed. This last quality is one of the rarest in history, and it is especially admirable in a writer who had himself strong party convictions, who passed much of his life in active politics,

and who was often called upon to describe contests in which his own ancestors bore a part.

To the great courtesy of the authorities of the French Foreign Office I am indebted for copies of some valuable letters relating to the closing days of Queen Anne; and I must also take this opportunity of acknowledging the unwearied kindness I have received from Sir BERNARD BURKE, Ulster King of Arms, during my investigation of those Irish State Papers which he has arranged so admirably and which he knows so well.

LONDON: November 1877.

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The exigencies of foreign policy draw Godolphin and Marlborough
towards the Whigs

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Progress of the alienation of the Government from the Tories
Chief events of the Godolphin Ministry

Government at length completely Whig .

Alienation of the Queen. The Ministers depend mainly for their

power on the continuance of the war

Marlborough refused the position of Captain-General

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Review of Foreign Policy

Deaths in the French and Austrian royal families

Military situation

Conferences of Gertruydenberg

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