Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 8, 1640-41. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.
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To the Right Honourable GEORGE Earl of HALIFAX; One of His Majesties most Honourable Privy - Council.
O Man (I believe) understands better than your Lordship, the Interest and Concern that Posterity hath, in a true account of all matters of moment, that were transacted by their Ancestors; and I know none in whose Devotion, to the service of the King and Kingdom, I could so confide, as in your Lordships, to Patronize this plain and full Relation of the proceedings in Parliament, in the Case of the greatest Minister of State, in his time.
I sometimes doubted that the Dedication of these Papers to your Lordship, might be improper, because of your Lordships Descent from the Sister of that great Personage, whose unhappy Fate is here related. But having well considered, that Honour, Truth and Justice, have the Supreme Empire in your truly Noble Soul; and that a full and clear Narrative of all the Matters of Fact, that occurred in this great Affair, with the Intentions and Constructions of them, as declared from the mouth of your Noble Ancestor himself, is the fairest and justest way to represent him truly to future ages; I conceived it not unfit for your Lordship to favour this true Account of him, which may protect his Name from the Injuries both of Ignorance and Malice.
I ought not, neither can I Flatter your Lordship; you are too well known to need any thing that can be said by me of your Worth and true Nobleness; and the Character of this your Ancestor is best to be collected from the following Papers. His Letters published by me in the Second Part of my Historical Collections, and his Behaviour in this solemn Tryal here published, discovers the greatness of his parts; the quickness of his Apprehension, the excellence of his Wit and Eloquence, the contempt he had of Death, and the serene Composure of his mind in that part of his Life, which falls within this History.
I should not have dared to present this Work to your Lordship, so nearly related to this eminent Minister of State, if I had not been a Witness to all the steps of the proceedings in this great Action; and if I had not taken in Characters, as well and truly, all that was said for him, as what his Accusers said against him; and therefore I can with great assurance aver it to be a candid Representation o Matter of Fact, which is all I pretend to publish to the World: and as far as the exactest Care could carry me, I have done it so punctually true, that I am hopeful there is none can have any just Exception to any part of it. My Lord, There is none alive can judge of a Work of this nature better than your self, who as you are descended from a Race of Statesmen, being Nephew and Grandson to the Two chief Ministers of the last age, this Great Earl, and the Wise and Fortunate Lord Keeper Coventry, so are you lookt on by all, as a Person born for the Service of the KING, and the publick good of your Countrey: And as I have always had a constant Experience of your Goodness and Indulgence to my self, so I humbly hope your Lordship will favourably construe my intentions in this Dedication, and accept of it as a tribute of Duty and Acknowledgment humbly offered by
May it please your Lordship,
Your Lordships most Humble Most Faithful, and Most Obliged Servant
March 25. 1680.