In the plan of the work, I have not limited myself to a strict chronological narrative of passing events, but have occasionally paused, at the expense, perhaps, of some interest in the story, to seek such collateral information as might bring these events into a clearer view. I have devoted a liberal portion of the work to the literary progress of the nation, conceiving this quite as essential a part of its history as civil and military details. I have occasionally introduced, at the close of the chapters, a critical notice of the authorities used, that the reader may form some estimate of their comparative value and credibility. Finally, I have endeavored to present him with such an account of the state of affairs, both before the accession, and at the demise of the Catholic sovereigns, as might afford him the best points of view for surveying the entire results of their reign.
gation of original sources, and fine spirit of criticism, must supply, what has been so long felt as an important desideratum with the student,--the means of forming a perfect acquaintance with the Arabian portion of the Peninsular annals. There fell into the hands of this gentleman, on the breaking up of the convents of Saragossa in 1835, a rich collection of original documents, comprehending, among other things, the autograph correspondence of Ferdinand and Isabella, and of the principal persons of their court. It formed, probably, part of the library of Geronimo Zurita,--historiographer of Aragon, under Philip the Second,--who, by virtue of his office, was intrusted with whatever documents could illustrate the history of the country. This rare collection was left at his death to a monastery in his native city. Although Zurita is one of the principal authorities for the present work, there are many details of interest in this correspondence, which have passed unnoticed by him, although forming the basis of
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