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they differed from their ordinary fellows, and how they came so much to differ,--rather than an elaborate demonstration by the exhaustive method, of the flattening theory, that all are, in the main, pottery of the same clay.
My desire in the present work has been, as far as the materials placed at my disposal enabled me, to present in succession the feelings and ideas of my lamented friend as they occupied his mind, in his own way, and generally in his own words. With this view I have not hesitated to give numerous extracts from his speeches, plays, and essays, most of which are inaccessible to ordinary readers. Reminiscences of conversations with myself and others have enabled me to supply, in some degree, the want of correspondence upon subjects of importance. not what is called a letter-writer; and I have perused whole piles of written communications, addressed by him at various times to different persons, without being tempted to make a single quotation. The truth appears to have been that at all times, and more especially in his latter years, writing upon ordinary subjects was irksome to him: and hence the com
parative scarcity and the almost invariable brevity of his epistles. When excited by some sudden piece of news, he would sometimes sit down and indite to a friend in the country what he used to call “ a telegraphic despatch.” But there were few, even of his intimates, to whom he wrote at any length on the topics that most interested him; and his happiest thoughts are to be gathered from recollections of social converse, and from his known compositions. My desire has been to collect and illustrate these by just so much of explanatory observation as might render them fully appreciable. In many of the opinions strikingly expressed throughout these volumes I entirely concur; while from others, were it necessary, I should be disposed to dissent. But I felt that it would have been an unpardonable intrusion if, as a biographer, I had sought to intermix my own sentiments unnecessarily with those, of which I had undertaken to give the substance and the sum.
W. T. M.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME I.