Arabella Stuart: A Romance from English History

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Arabella Stuart
arabella

THE WORKS

OF

G. P. R. JAMES, ESQ.

REVISED AND CORRECTED BY THE AUTHOR,

WITH AN INTRODUCTORY PREFACE.

“D’autres auteurs l’ont encore plus avili, (le roman,) en y mêlant les tableaux dégoutant du vice; et tandis que le premier avantage des fictions est de rassembler autour de l’homme tout ce qui, dans la nature, peut lui servir de leçon ou de modèle, on a imaginé qu’on tirerait une utilité quelconque des peintures odieuses de mauvaises mœurs; comme si elles pouvaient jamais laisser le cœur qui les repousse, dans une situation aussi pure que le cœur qui les aurait toujours ignorées. Mais un roman tel qu’on peut le concevoir, tel que nous en avons quelques modèles, est une des plus belles productions de l’esprit humain, une des plus influentes sur la morale des individus, qui doit former ensuite les mœurs publiques.”–Madame De Stael. Essai sur les Fictions.

“Poca favilla gran flamma seconda:
Forse diretro a me, con miglior voci
Si pregherà, perchè Cirra risponda.”

Dante. Paradiso, Canto I.

VOL. XIX.

ARABELLA STUART.

LONDON:

SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.

STATIONERS’ HALL COURT.

M DCCC XLIX.

ARABELLA STUART:

A Romance

FROM ENGLISH HISTORY.

BY

G. P. R. JAMES, ESQ.


LONDON:

SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.

STATIONERS’ HALL COURT.

M DCCC XLIX.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER 
Preface.
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.
X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.
XXVII.
XXVIII.
XXIX.
XXX.
XXXI.
XXXII.
XXXIII.
XXXIV.
XXXV.
XXXVI.
XXXVII.
XXXVIII.
XXXIX.
XL.
XLI.
XLII.
XLIII.
XLIV.
XLV.
XLVI.

TO REAR-ADMIRAL

SIR GEORGE F. SEYMOUR, C.B. G.C.H.

&c. &c. &c.


My Dear Sir,

If the dedication of a work like the present could afford any adequate expression of high respect and regard, I should feel greater pleasure than I do in offering you these pages; but such things have become so common, that, though every one who knows you will understand the feelings which induce me to present you with this small tribute, yet I cannot but be aware that it is very little worthy of your acceptance. You will receive it, however, I know, with the same kindness which you have frequently displayed towards me, as a mark, however slight, of my gratitude for the interest you have always shown in myself and my works, and as a testimony of unfeigned esteem from one, who can fully appreciate in others higher qualities than he can pretend to himself.

Although I am inclined to believe that the public may judge this one of the most interesting tales I have written, I can take but little credit to myself on that account; for all the principal events are so strictly historical, that little was left to the author but to tell them as agreeably as he could. The story of the fair and unfortunate Arabella Stuart is well known to every one at all acquainted with English history; and has called forth more than one poem of considerable merit, though, I believe, as yet, has never been made the foundation of a romance. From that story, as it has been told by contemporaries, I have had but very little occasion to deviate, merely supplying a few occasional links to connect it with other events of the time.

In depicting the characters of the various persons who appear upon the scene, however, I have had a more difficult task to perform, being most anxious to represent them as they really were, and not on any account to distort and caricature them. The rudeness of the age,–the violent passions that were called into action,–the bold and erratic disregard which thus reigned of all those principles which have now been universally recognised for many years, rendered it not easy to give the appearance of truth and reality to events that did actually happen, and to personages who have indeed existed; for to the age of James I. may well be applied the often repeated maxim, that “Truth is stranger than Fiction.”

Difficulties as great, and many others of a different description, have been overcome in the extraordinary romance called “Ferrers;” but it is not every one who possesses the powers of vigorous delineation which have been displayed by the Author of that remarkable work; and I have been obliged to trust to the reader’s knowledge of history, to justify me in the representation which I have given of characters and scenes, which might seem overstrained and unnatural, to those who have been only accustomed to travel over the railroad level of modern civilization.

The character of James I. himself has been portrayed by Sir Walter Scott with skill to which I can in no degree pretend–but with a very lenient hand. He here appears under a more repulsive aspect, as a cold, brutal, vain, frivolous tyrant. Nevertheless, every act which I have attributed to him blackens the page of history, with many others, even more dark and foul, which I have not found necessary to introduce. Indeed, I would not even add one deed which appeared to me in the least degree doubtful; for I do believe that we have no right to charge the memory of the dead with anything that is not absolutely proved against them. We must remember, that we try them in a court where they cannot plead, before a jury chosen by ourselves, and pronounce a sentence against which they can make no appeal: and I should be as unwilling to add to the load of guilt which weighs down the reputation of a bad man, as to detract from the high fame and honour of a great and good one. My conviction, however, is unalterable, that James I. was at once one of the most cruel tyrants, and one of the most disgusting men, that ever sat upon a throne.

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