History of the People of the Netherlands, Vol. 4 (Classic Reprint)

History of the People of the Netherlands, Vol. 4 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from History of the People of the Netherlands, Vol. 4

The historian of the "golden age" of the Netherlands has a pleasant task to perform, because the glory of posterity has never risen higher than in this time, especially in the second half of the century. But this task is difficult, for great is the number of the works that have appeared on this attractive epoch, and hard it is to hold fast the thread of the narrative amid the many important events occurring in every department of the national life. The author hopes he has overcome this difficulty without allowing too ample a space to any portion of the history of the people, so far as possible without being swayed by his personal preference for persons and systems.

It would not greatly surprise him, however, if the critics, as has previously happened, were again to complain that in this volume also of the history of the people of the Netherlands too much place has perhaps been given to political history of the people. That poor political history! Formerly it was everything, the everywhere recognised mistress; now it is put under a ban and thrown into an obscure corner, and unjustly. It may not be denied that the interest of the public at present is directed more to other expressions of the life of the people, but this does not signify that those other expressions of old took a so much more considerable place in the popular life itself, in the daily thoughts of the nation.

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