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PREFACE.

THE Instructive Letters, with which we here present our Readers, need no encomium of ours: replete with the lessons of Piety, Virtue, and Wisdom, their claims upon our attention are obvious. In them will be found all that is necessary for guiding us with safety and honour through the tempests of Human Life, and much of what is conducive to our happiness hereafter. They form a brief Manual of Conduct, upon which we may rely with full security as the collected fruit of wisdom the most sublime, experience the most enlarged, and goodness the most pure, com

patible with the imperfect nature of mortality.

The names, alone, of Sidney, Burleigh, Milton, Locke, Newton, and Chatham, bear us out in this assertion; they are immediate passports to our veneration. In the hope that the inestimable value of these relics, bequeathed to posterity by men so justly celebrated, may be diligently examined, rightly appreciated, and finally turned to profit by the reader, we have endeavoured so to dispose and illustrate our materials as will be most agreeable to the tastes and inclinations of our Juvenile Friends, to whose patronage we chiefly look for the success of our little Volume. However desirable, it is by no means easy to convey instruction into the youthful breast: perhaps, indeed, it is unjust to expect at that age such a love of wisdom as would lead to the contemplation of it with an interest only to be looked for in those who, by long converse with the world, have seen the vanity of everything attractive to the inexperienced eye. This has probably been but too lightly considered by those who have devoted themselves to the education of youth, and also by those who, no doubt with the best and most amiable motives, have written or compiled instructions for the use of the rising generation: we have endeavoured to avoid this important error; important we call it, as involving the happiness, perhaps, in a great degree, the everlasting happiness, of those whom it repels from the study of wisdom, or disgusts, with the counsels of virtue. In the present volume we have attempted to combine the useful and the grateful, the entertaining and the instructive. For this purpose we have sought the aid of history, of biography, and of anecdote, to enliven the graver matter, which we would more especially recommend to attention. With the same view it was thought judicious to intermingle our Collection of Letters with remarks critical or explanatory, so that by a grateful variety we might relieve the mind of our youthful readers, and induce them to find an interest in that which they might otherwise reject as tedious and formal. We cannot but acknowledge that we have pursued the task which we allotted ourselves with a good deal of inward satisfaction; the sense that we were performing, to the best of our abilities, a duty imposed upon all,—that of endeavouring to advance the interests of virtue and knowledge, could not but encourage us in our efforts. We would fain hope that our satisfaction may be rendered complete, by finding these efforts not unsuccessful. If by our means the ingenuous Reader should be led to imitate the ExAMPLE, or observe the eneckers of the illustrious Characters whose Memoirs we have compiled, our happiness would be augmented in the same proportion that his would be inevitably secured, by a measure, evincing at once his good sense, and his innate love of

virtue. *

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