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MORE than two years have now elapsed since
jured, with the
reference to the execution of the following work that my calamities or my weaknesses can be of consequence to the public. If any passages, then, in the present life of Milton, should be noticed by the reader for peculiar deficiency in composition or in spirit, as he pronounces their merited condemnation let him be told that they were written by a father, who with a daughter, the delight and, alas! perhaps too much, the pride of his heart, has lost the great endearment of existence; the exhilaration of his cheerful and the solace of his melancholy hour.
Candour now requires me to speak of the literary assistance of which I have availed myself. If any vanity yet lingered in my bosom, in which every animating passion is nearly extinct, I might abundantly gratify the weakness by enumerating among my friends or acquaintance some of the first scholars and geniuses of the age: but of those, whose ability, if circumstances had permitted me to solicit its co-operation, would have imparted ornament and value to my production, my
with translations and extracts from my author, and with occasional, though short views of the great contemporary occurrences in the
For the political sentiments discoverable my work I am neither inclined, nor, indeed, able to offer an apology. They flow directly from those principles which I imbibed with my first efforts of reflexion, which have derived force from my subsequent reading and observation, which have " grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength." If they should, therefore, unhappily be erroneous, my misfortune, as I fear, is hopelessly irremediable, for they are now so vitally blended with my thought and my feelings, that with them they must exist or must perish. The nature of these principles will be obviously and immediately apparent to my readers; for I have made too explicit an avowal of my political creed, with reference to the civil and the ecclesiastical system, of which I am fortunately a member, to be under any apprehensions of suffering by mis