Page:Behemoth 1889.djvu/15

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


and am sorry for it, especially because I could not get his Majesty to license it, not because it is ill printed or has a foolish title set to it, for I believe that any ingenious man may understand the wickedness of that time, notwithstanding the errors of the press.” (Bodl. MS., Wood E., 4.)

Now, though it is true that Crooke’s edition was very much improved as compared with the spurious ones, yet it was not made from the original copy, which I believe myself to have discovered and made use of now for the first time. The copy of which I speak is a beautifully written MS., preserved in St. John’s College, Oxford; and upon this, as a matter of course, the present new edition, after a careful collation, has been founded, and may justly be said to stand in the same relation to the text as hitherto known,[1] which this one had to the unauthorized pamphlets above mentioned. For not only are there in this edition a very great number of places corrected, but also many deficient passages have been supplied. Amongst the latter there were some, erased with great care in the MS. itself, which I had great trouble in deciphering, though with very few exceptions I succeeded in so doing. I have not hesitated to insert these passages into the text, since they were evidently suppressed, not for reasons connected with the style and composition of the work, but as containing statements of opinion too strong to be made known, even through the medium of a manuscript copy; as will be better understood from the purport of the foregoing letters. The

  1. It was said already with good reason (notwithstanding the publisher’s assurance) by Mr. Anthony à Wood (or Mr. Aubrey) to contain many faults [Athenæ Oxon, vol. ii. col. 1213, ed. Bliss]; and the same text has been reprinted, first in the Moral and Political Works of T. H., 1750, then in a collection of Select tracts relating to the civil wars in England in the reign of King Charles the First, by writers who lived in the time of those wars, and were witnesses of the events which they describe. Edited by Francis Maseres, London, 1815 (in this reprint there are a few alterations from conjecture). And, lastly, in Molesworth’s edition, English Works, vol. vi., which I have compared here in the first place with the MS.