The Paston Letters.
A NEW EDITION, containing upwards of 400 letters,
etc,} hitherto unpublished.
Of the Public Record Office.
3 Vols. Fcap. Szw, Cloth extra, 15s net.
" The Paston Letters are an important testimony to the progiessive con.
dition of Society, and come in as a precious link in the chain of moral history
of England, which they alone in this period supply. They stand, indeed,
singly, as far as I know, in Europe ; for though it is highly probable that
m the archives of Italian families, if not in France or Germany, a series of
merely private letters equally ancient may he concealed ; I do not recollect
that any have been published. They are all written in the reigns of HENRY
VI. and EDWARD IV., except a few that extend as far as HENRV VII., by
different mempers of a wealthy and lespectable, but not noble, family; and
aie, therefore, pictures of the life of the English gentry of that age."—
HENRY HALLAM, Introditclion to the Literature of Europe^ i. 328,
These Letters are the genuine correspondence of a family in Nor-
folk during the Wars of the Roses. As such, they are altogether
unique in character; yet the language is not so antiquated as to
present any serious difficulty to the modern reader. The topics of
the letters relate paitly to the private affairs of the family, and
partly to the stirring events of ih^. time : and the correspondence
includes State papers, love letters, bailiff's accounts, sentimental
poems, jocular epistles, etc.
Besides the public news of the day, such as the Loss of Nor-
mandy by the English ; the indictment, and subsequent murder at
sea of the Duke of SUFFOLK ; and all the fluctuations of the great
struggle of YORK and LANCASTER ; we have the story of JOHN
PASTON'S first introduction to his wife ; incidental notices of severe
domestic discipline, in which his sister frequently had her head
broken ; letters from Dame ELIZABETH BREWS, a match-making
Mamma, who reminds the youngest JOHN PASTON that Friday is
k'Saint Valentine's Day," and invites him to come and visit her
family from the Thursday evening till the Monday, etc., etc.
Every Letter has been exhaustively annotated ; and a Chrono-
logical Table, with most copious Indices, conclude the Work.