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REGENCY AND REIGN
King George the Fourth.
BY WILLIAM COBBETT.
PRINTED BY MILLS, JOWETT, AND MILLS,
PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM COBBETT, 183, FLEET-STREET.
1. THE proper business of a Preface is twofold; first, to tell the reader why the work is written and published; and, second, to describe to him the manner in which it is done, and to apprize him of other circumstances the want of a previous knowledge of which might produce inconvenience to him
2. With regard to the first, the why is, that we may have, at once, a record of the acts and character of the king in question, while these are all fresh in our minds, while a great part of the actors are still alive, while official and other documents are within our reach, while the field is fairly open for controversy on the matters stated, and, above all, that the History may
be of use; that it may afford us an example
gainst us of
ally be to r writing,
it is cal
a to useful
at which is
and on the
se effects it
which it relates, but before it has ceased to feel the effects of those transactions. Ancient history may, with a few learned and deepthinking persons, be of real use; but, to the mass of mankind, it can be but little other than romance.
3. It may be said, that the writer, having lived during the period, or part of it, of which he is the historian, may possibly have been engaged in the transactions of it himself, and cannot, therefore, be expected to be so impartial as he ought to be. But, what is the great business of history? It is to record facts; and, if the facts be true, of what consequence are the feelings of the historian? He may, indeed, when delineating motives and consequences and characters, give way to his bias; but, then, as in the case of the facts, he exposes himself to contradiction, and the matter is set right; dis
cussion takes place; and out of discussion comes the establishment of truth.