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Such a work, and for such a purpose, “THE ANNALS OF YORKSHIRE," now presented to the public, will, it is presumed, be found to be admirably adapted ;-a book, strictly speaking, of reference--and though not admitting generally of amplification--a book, as to the endless variety of its contents, of the fullest information, as to facts, places, and personages. The annalist, like a person on a journey, possessed of leisure, inclination, and observation, collects, as he proceeds, whatever is deemed worthy of notice and preservation,—the different objeets varying, meanwhile, in value and in importance, according to the purposes for which they are sought, and the objects to which they are to be appropriated by others.
The best authorities have been consulted, and in cases where it appeared necessary, the authors are named, without encumbering the work, except in the biographical department, with the titles of the several works consulted ; and in the latter case, the particularity observed, will inspire confidence, as to the assiduous care employed, to come at facts, in other parts of the work.
Various public acts are noticed, and measures introduced, as legislative enactments &c., not strictly confined to the county, yet as they are of a national character, and general in their influence on society, as to the religion, social habits, or commerce of the country, Yorkshire is noticed as participating either in the benefits or disadvantages resulting from the
In this will be found, if not a justification, at least an apology, for what might otherwise be deemed extraneous matter, in looking at the world's history, as we pass along; as in the first, second, and third chapters, where the broader subjects continue to narrow, till they are brought to bear upon the county whose Annals are here recorded. A wish to know what is doing abroad, as well as at home, exists every where. Yorkshire--for some of its raw materials, and in its manufactured goods, stands connected with the whole civilized world. Europe was interested in the field and fate of Waterloo ;—the heart of this great nation was stirred ;-and Ebona Yeyne, as the county of York was called by the Saxons, had many of her sons there. General subjects, both foreign and domestic, crowd upon the annalist, after the commencement of the nineteenth century; and greater amplification is indulged, not only because of their being better understood, in consequence of their being nearer hand, but because of their importance in connection with present times, and the lively interest taken in them. To these the reader will be able to refer, without special notice : and he need not be told-as he will feel the effect as he proceeds—that the more lengthened accounts are calculated to relieve the mind in the midst of drier details, and shorter notices.
Entirely to avoid repetition, were impossible in a work like the present; nor is it desirable.
When the separate histories of certain towns, villages, or other localities, are taken up, there is naturally a recurrence of the past, both as to men and things,—the chronologist having found it his duty to advert to them with the events of the times; while various concurring circumstances are found, in after times, either dependant upon, or in some way associated with previous dates and facts, and the progressive history of the places. in question. Illustrative of this, pages 28 and 83,29 and 87,-22 and 100,- 33 and 108,-34 and 116,37 and 126, -38 and 141, of vol. i. may be named. In the same place, too, as in page 406, a reference to the recent doings in California, leads to its past history when visited by Blake in 1577.
When opinions are recorded on given subjects, they are furnished, not with a view to their propagation, but as the opinions of those with whom they originate,-the reader being left to decide for himself as to their real value.
Agreeably to previous announcement, the first volume contains a record of the most interesting events connected with the County of which it professes to treat, chronologically arranged, from a remote period to the present time, compiled from authentic sources. Following in the order of date, is also given incidental notices of eminent men, whose public services and attainments deservedly endear their memories to posterity; reserving the fuller account, in somewhat of a biographical shape, for the close of the second volume. The several minerals, organic remains, together with the successive discoveries of the various relics of past ages; cannot fail to be interesting to the antiquarian and geologist; nor will the progress of intelligence and civilization, as exhibited from the times of the Norman Conquest to the establishment of free and responsible government afford less abundant material for reflection in the study of history.
The second volume will be found to embrace an account of the cities of York and of Ripon, the town of Leeds, the parliamentary boroughs, the principal market towns and villages of the three Ridings; exhibiting the increase of population in each,—the progress made in the various branches of manufactures and commerce,—the improvements effected with reference to public buildings and institutions,—the changes in local government, the formation of important public bodies, -seats of the nobility and gentry,-important information on the subject of railways in Yorkshire,—and a succinct history of the Great Exhibition of 1851, presenting to the reader the origin, opening, progress, and termination of that wonderful exposition of the world's industry and ingenuity, including also, the names of the Yorkshire Exhibitors, a description of the articles exhibited by each, and the prizes awarded, together with the report of the royal commissioners, with tlie reply of Prince Albert, and a great variety of other facts connected with that memorable event. It may be added, that the Earl of Carlisle's lectures on the poetry of Pope, and on America, delivered to the member's of the Leeds Mechanics' Institution, have been deemed worthy of insertion, not only because of their intrinsic merit, but because of their connection with Leeds, his Lordship's own connection with the county, and as an example to the nobility to “ go and do likewise,”—an example which we are happy to find has since been imitated by one of the nobility in Ireland, and Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, in England, in a lecture delivered at Royston, entitled, “Outlines of the Early History of the East, with explanatory descriptions of some of the most remarkable nations and cities mentioned in the Old Testament."
The importance of history has been acknowledged in all ages; and so also the simple facts on which history is based. "Not to know what has been transacted in former times, is," remarks Cicero, “to continue always a child ;” adding, “if no use is made of the labours of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.” Feltham descants more largely on the subject. “It is the resurrection,” he observes, “of ages past : it gives us the scenes of human life, that, by their actings, we may learn to correct and improve. What can be more profitable to man, than by an easy charge and a delightful entertainment, to make himself wise by the imitation of heroic virtues, or by the avoidance of detested vices? where the glorious actions of the worthiest treaders on the world's stage shall become our guide and conduct, and the errors that the weak have fallen into shall be marked out to us as rocks that we ought to avoid. It is learning wisdom at the cost of others; and, which is rare, it makes a man the better for being pleased.” Somewhat in the same eulogistic strain Dryden proceeds, in his Life of Plutarch: “They who have employed the study of history as they ought, for their instruction, for the regulation of their private manners, and the management of public affairs, must
agree with me that it is the most pleasant school of wisdom. It is a familiarity with past ages, and acquaintance with all the heroes of them. It is, if you will pardon the similitude, a perspective glass carrying your soul to a vast distance, and taking in the farthest objects of antiquity. It informs the understanding by the inemory; it helps us to judge of what will happen, by shewing us the like revolutions of former times. For mankind being the same in all ages, agitated by the same passions, and moved to action by the same interests, nothing can come to pass, but some precedent of the like nature has already been produced ; so that having the causes before our eyes, we cannot easily be deceived in the effects, if we have judgment enough but to draw the parallel.”