Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back. — G. K. Chesterton

Charles I - Jacob Abbott

Charles I had the misfortune to reign during a period when Parliament, mainly representing the rising merchant class of England, had the temerity to assert its growing power. His reckless youth was spent carousing with the infamous Duke of Buckingham, and his mid-years were spent quarreling with parliament. His misdeeds were no worse than many of his predecessors, but he paid a much heavier price. After losing a civil war, he spent his last few years in captivity and was the only English king ever executed.

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The history of the life of every individual who has, for any reason, attracted extensively the attention of mankind, has been written in a great variety of ways by a multitude of authors, and persons sometimes wonder why we should have so many different accounts of the same thing. The reason is, that each one of these accounts is intended for a different set of readers, who read with ideas and purposes widely dissimilar from each other. Among the twenty millions of people in the United States, there are perhaps two millions, between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, who wish to become acquainted, in general, with the leading events in the history of the Old World, and of ancient times, but who, coming upon the stage in this land and at this period, have ideas and conceptions so widely different from those of other nations and of other times, that a mere republication of existing accounts is not what they require. The story must be told expressly for them. The things that are to be explained, the points that are to be brought out, the comparative degree of prominence to be given to the various particulars, will all be different, on account of the difference in the situation, the ideas, and the objects of these new readers, compared with those of the various other classes of readers which former authors have had in view. It is for this reason, and with this view, that the present series of historical narratives is presented to the public. The author, having had some opportunity to become acquainted with the position, the ideas, and the intellectual wants of those whom he addresses, presents the result of his labors to them, with the hope that it may be found successful in accomplishing its design.

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[Illustration] from Charles I by Jacob Abbott

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The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man. — G. K. Chesterton