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instruction of the student, much amusement to the more advanced reader, who inspects the volume merely to pass away his vacant hours. Howel"s Letters were, at one time, extremely popular. They have passed through many editions. Their wit, vivacity, and frankness, render them more pleasing than some more modern and more exact compositions. Many celebrated Letters, more correct and finished, have in them less wit, less fire, less spirit, fewer ideas, and scantier information.

Lady Rachael Russell's Letters are inserted in the Second Book, and must be allowed to constitute a very useful and ornamental part of it. They have been much admired by persons of taste and sensibility, both for their thoughts and their diction. Piety and conjugal affection, expressed in language, considering the time of its composition, so pure and proper, cannot but afford a fine example to the female aspirants after delicacy, virtue, taste, and whatever is excellent and laudable in the wife, the widow, and the mpther. Such patterns in high life cannot fail of becoming beneficial in proportion as they are more known and better observed.

The very name6 indeed os those whose Letters furnHli this and the remaining Cooks, are of themselves a sufficient recommendation of them. Locke, Shaftefbury, Pope, Swift, Addison, and a long list of others, besides those enumerated in the title-page, require only to be announced to gain a welcome reception. To dwell on the character and excellences of each, would be to abuse the Reader's patience. Most of them are of that exalted and established rank, which praise cannot now elevate, nor censure degrade,

Since then, the authors, whose Letters fill this volume, are able to speak so powerfully for themselves, why should the Reader be detained by a longer Preface from better entertainment? Things intrinsically good will be duly appreciated by a discerning Public, and require not the ostentatious display of a florid encomium. If the Letters here selected were the Letters of obscure men, a recommendatory introduction might be necessary to their Teady admission; but they are the Letters of men, high in rank, high in fame, high in every quality which can excite and reward the attention of a nation, of which most of them have been at once the ornaments and the luminaries. Here indeed, like the setting sun, they shine with a softer radiance than in their more studied works; retaining, however, their beauty and magnitude undiminissied, though their meridian fervour is abated. Associated in this Compilation they unite their orbs and form a galaxy: they charm with a mild, diffusive, light, though they no longer dazzle with a noon-day splendour.


But it is time to conclude, since to proceed in recommending those who recommend themselves, is but an officious ceremony; yet the Editor, before he withdraws himself, begs leave to ask the Reader one question: Would he not think it a pleasure and a happiness, beyond the power of adequate estimation, to be able to sit down whenever he pleases, and enjoy, at his fire-side, the conversation os Cicero and Pliny, of the noble Sydneys, of the lively Howel, of Pope, of Gray, of Sterne, of Johnson, and of all the other illustrious persons, whose familiar, unstudied Letters, fill the Tolume before him? That pleasure, and that happiness, however great, he may here actually enjoy in as great perfection as is now possible, since Death has silenced their eloquent tongues. By a very flight effort of imagination, he may suppose himself, while he revolves these pages, in the midst of the intelligent, cheerful, social, circle; and when satisfied with the familiar conversation of one, turning to another, equally excellent and entertaining in his way, though on a different subject, and in a diversified style. Happy intercourse, remote from noise, from care, from strife, from envy! ajid happy those who have leisure, sense, and' taste, to relish it!

That a satisfaction so pure and so exalted, may be enjoyed from this attempt, is the sincere wish of the Editor, who ventures to express a hope, that if much is done for the Reader's entertainment, he will not complain that more has not been accomplished, but view excellence with due approbation, and defect with good-natured indulgence.


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Sir Philip Sidney to his brother Robert

Sidney, who was the first Earl of

Leicester of that name — *2e»

33 Robert, first Earl of Leicester, to his fa-

ther, Sir Henry Sidney 42*

34 Sir Philip Sidney to QueenElizabeth, anno

1580, persuading her not to marry

with the Duke of Anjou ibid.

35 Sir Philip Sidney to Edmund Motincax,

Esq. — — 227

36 From the same to the same 2-8

37 Robert Sidney (afterwards Earl of Lei-

cester) to Edmund Molineux ibid.

38 Sir Philip Sidney to William Lord Bur-

leigh — — ibi«%

39 Sir Philip Sidney to Sir Edward Staf-

ford — — ibi4.

40 Thomas Lord Buckhurst, toRobcrtDud-

ley Earl of Leicester, on the death of

Sir Philip Sidney . — 229

41 Sir Thomas Sidney to his Lady ibid.

42 Sit Henry Hobart, Knight and Baronet,

Lord Chief Justice, to Robert Earl of

Leicester — — i^to

43 Dorothy

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