"It embraces the time from the accession of Francis I. in 1515, to the death of Charles IX. in 1574, at which epoch the doctrines of the Reformation had become well-grounded in France, and the Huguenots had outgrown the feebleness of infancy and stood as a distinct and powerful body before the religious world. In preparing the learned and elaborate work, which will give the name of the author an honourable place on the distinguished list of American historians, Professor Baird has made a judicious use of the researches and discoveries which, during the last thirty years, have shed a fresh light on the history of France at the era of the Reformation. Among the ample stores of knowledge which have been laid open to his inquiries are the archives of the principal capitals of Europe, which have been thoroughly explored for the first time during that period. Numerous manuscripts of great value, for the most part unknown to the learned world, have been rescued from obscurity. At the side of the voluminous chronicles long since printed, a rich abundance of contemporary correspondence and hitherto inedited memoirs has accumulated, which afford a copious collection of life-like and trustworthy views of the past. The secrets of diplomacy have been revealed. The official statements drawn up for the public may now be tested by the more truthful and unguarded accounts conveyed in cipher to all the foreign courts of Europe. Of not less importance, perhaps, than the official publications are the fruits of private research, among which are several valuable collections of original documents. While the author has not failed to enrich his pages with the materials derived from these and similar sources, he has made a careful and patient study of the host of original chronicles, histories, and kindred productions which have long been more or less familiar to the world of letters. The fruits of his studious labours, as presented in these volumes, attest his diligence, his fidelity, his equipoise of judgment, his fairness of mind, his clearness of perception, and his accuracy of statement.