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PREFACE. ix

the perusal, which the author felt in the commencement of his enquiry.

What most contributes 'to render biography amusing, is a certain singularity, and some degree of forwardness and presumption in the hero.

But the character of Lord Russell was plain, sober, and unaffected: he was not endowed with brilliant talents, and he made no attempt to distinguish, either by speaking or writing, his own merit from that of the party with which he acted. He does not appear as an original proposer of any great, measure; and he always inclined to the course which Was the least striking and ambitious. Why, then, it may be said, obtrude upon the public an account of his life? I can truly answer, that after having written by far the greater part of this work, and laid it aside for nearly two years, my first impressions on reading it again were, that it

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the laws enacted during the contest were in favour of the conquered party.

1

l

The history of this period, as Mr. Serjeant i

Heywood has remarked, has not yet been ac

curately written. Hume had finished his work

before Sir John Dalryrnple published the valu

able dispatches of the French ministers in

England; besides which, every reader must feel J l

" that his partiality to the house of Stuart greatly lessens the value'of 'what he has written. Yet, even with these defects, such is his depth of thought, and beauty of style, that I cannot take up his book without wondering at my own presumption in ‘describing events which have been related by so able an author.

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ungrateful in me not to acknowlege thegreat

obligations I owe to the late Mr. Howell, the

editor of Cobbett’s State Trials. The new Par

liamentary History has also been of great use

to me. And I have derived most useful lights .

from the observations on this reign, contained in the introductory chapter of Mr. Fox’s History; a work which contains more sound constitutional opinions than any other history with which I am acquainted. Some information was gained from the letters of Secretary Coventry, in manuscript, at Longleat. A few letters and papers are preserved at Woburn Abbey. But by far the most valuable assistance I have re, ceived, has been from the original letters of Lady Russell, which the Duke of Devonshire had the kindness to' let me see. They will, I hope, be given to the world as soon as this

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