Page images

pains or exertions to satisfy this laudable curiosity. Since its first publication the author has availed himself of every source of information within his reach; and those who are at the pains to compare the two editions will at least give him credit for some portion of industry in research, whatever may be their opinion of his judgment and skill in the disposition of his materials. From the elaborate works of SLEIDAN and THUANUS, he has been enabled to enrich his narrative with several valuable extracts, illustrative of the history of the Waldenses in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The whole of the eighth section of ch. v. in which is sketched the history of Wickliff, Huss, and Jerome, of the Lollards, and Bohemian brethren, now first makes its appearance in this work. The same may be remarked concerning ch. vi. sect. 3. in which a view of the dreadful cruelties inflicted on the friends of reform, particularly in Spain and the Netherlands, about the middle of the sixteenth century, is now introduced, chiefly for the sake of keeping alive the reader's attention to the spirit and operation of the inquisition. And should it appear to any, that this section is a digression from the history of the Waldenses, the author flatters himself that he shall find some apology for its introduction, in the aspect of the present timesthe revival of the lately expiring cause of Antichrist—the restoration of the Society of the Je- ` suits and the recent persecution of the Protestants in the south of France. For although the cause of civil and religious liberty never had a more decided friend, however much he may re

joice to think that it has had many abler advocates; and though he trusts he shall never act the inconsistent part of wishing to deprive a Catholic of any right or privilege which he would be disposed to claim for himself; yet he considers it perfectly congenial with this, to do every thing in his power, consistent with truth and by an impartial statement of facts, to inculcate upon his fellow-protestants a due consideration of the persecuting spirit of Popery-and to warn them of the insidious artifices of all the Jesuitical emissaries of the court of Rome. If the Catholics of the present day can vindicate their forefathers from the black catalogue of crimes, with which they stand charged in the following pages, the press is fairly open to them, and no one will rejoice in witnessing their exculpation more than the author of these volumes. He fears, however, that it is now too late to make the attempt with the smallest hope of success.

Towards the close of the second volume, several additional letters of our great Milton's are now given, to complete the series of his StatePapers relative to the Waldenses; the narrative of their extirpation from the vallies of Piedmont is greatly enlarged; and an Appendix of fifty pages is also subjoined, containing authentic copies of the Duke of Savoy's edicts for their expulsion, and his correspondence with the court of France which had compelled him to the sanguinary proceedings that issued in the ruin of his Protestant subjects, with various other interesting documents that were deemed of sufficient import

[blocks in formation]

ance to be rescued from oblivion. And upon the whole, though the author is fully sensible that numerous imperfections still attend this work, and that much remains to be done before it can be considered as at all worthy of the subject, he contents himself with the persuasion that he has achieved something towards it; and that, imperfect as it is, the friends of truth and genuine Christianity may learn more of its real history from these volumes than from any other work in our language.

PENTONVILLE, January 25, 1816.


The public having been pleased to call for a third edition of this work, the author has availed himself of the opportunity of prefixing to the first Volume, A brief sketch of the state of the world at the period of the birth of Christ; from which an estimate may be formed of the moral changes that have been produced by Christianity on the states and nations that have received it. This INTRODUCTION may be had separate from the work, by the purchasers of the two former editions, if wished, to complete their copies.

Chapman Street, Islington,
December, 1818.

« PreviousContinue »