« ZurückWeiter »
That to conciliate is, in part at least, the intention of a preface, seems to be so generally acknowledged, that its omission might almost be construed into neglect of public opinion, or indifference to a favourable reception. Deprecating such an imputation, and desirous of deferring to a custom which, if it have no other merit, may assert its claim to high antiquity, and its near resemblance to the courtesy of ordinary life, the author, with all respect, would premise as follows :
Whatever of censure or commendation may be due to the biographer, on account of the manner in which his duties have been performed, the advantage to be derived by survivors, from perusing memorials of the departed, depends, principally, on
the quality of the facts they detail, and the nature of the influence they exert.
Being entrusted, by the testamentary direction of the revered deceased, with all his “manuscripts and papers,” the author interpreted the deposit as involving a sacred obligation to attempt, in the first instance, to render the bequest available to record the divine favour, as illustrated in the leading occurrences of a life consecrated throughout to the pursuit of objects most worthy of attainment, and affording, in all its stages, an eminent example uf unblemished integrity and active benevolence. It is hoped, therefore, that, in the absence of superior competency, this effort to perpetuate the impression which so uniform an exhibition of distinguished piety is adapted to produce, will not be deemed either intrusive or uninteresting.
In a diary, extending through more than forty years, literally constructed upon the plan of
“ Nulla dies sine linea,"
selection became difficult. The earnest desire of the author has been to introduce such extracts as
appeared to him best, calculated to impart the greatest degree of completeness to the outline of CHARACTER he was anxious to describe, and as, at the same time, might prove to the reader most instructing and impressive.
The preparation of this work required the attentive and repeated perusal of so large a number of papers, not always easy to decipher, in addition to the voluminous diary, as may form his apology, the author trusts, for what otherwise might be considered an unnecessary delay of its publication. While thus employed he seemed to live again through the scenes in which, during many years, in the discharge of varied duties, he was so happily united with his lamented friend, and the review of which continues to supply no inconsiderable relief under the painful reflection that, aided by his presence, they can no longer be performed.
But such reference, however desirable to the mind of the author, must not, in this place, be permitted further to intrude upon the attention of the reader. As prefatory, perhaps, it is only necessary to add, that the following pages have not been