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THE present volume is issued in compliance with the
strong solicitations of many, to whose desire deference was due. In
selecting the articles, I have been guided mainly by two
considerations,—namely, the necessity for reproducing the mature opinion
of a great mind, upon great subjects; and for making the selection so
varied, as to convey to the reader some idea of the wonderful versatility
of the powers which could treat subjects so diverse in their nature with
such uniform eloquence and discrimination. I trust that the chapters
on Education will prove to be a valuable contribution to the speedy
settlement of that question at the present crisis. Those on
Sutherlandshire are inserted because they possess a permanent value, in
connection with the social and economical history of our country.
Some of the articles are of a personal character, and are introduced, not,
certainly, for the purpose of recalling old animosities, but solely to
illustrate the author's method of using some of the more formidable
figures of speech; while over against these may be set some on purely
literary subjects, which show the genial tenderness of his disposition
towards those who aspired to serve God and their generation by giving to
the world the fruit of their imagination, their labour, and their leisure.
I have not determined the selection without securing the
counsel and approval of men on whose judgment I could rely. It only
remains for me to thank them, and in an especial way to thank Mr. D. O.
Hill for the portrait which forms the frontispiece. An impersonal
reference to a similar portrait taken at the same time will be found at
page 184, in the article on 'The Calotype.'
London, March 8, 1870.
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