In that state of mind, I hesitated to undertake the task of selecting and preparing his manuscripts for the press.
The warmth of my early and long attachment to Mr Gibbon made me conscious of a partiality, which it was not proper to indulge, especially in revising many of his juvenile and unfinished compositions.
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It is to be lamented) that the sketches of the Memoirs, except that eomposed in the form of Annals, and which seems rather derigned as heads for a future work, cease jibout twenty years before Mr. The Author enters Magdalen College, Oxford, - 40 CHAPTER VIII. The Author m the Hampshire Militia, - -125 CHAPTER XV. The satirist may laugh, the philosopher may preach; but Reason herself will respect the prejudices and habits, which have been consecrated by the experience of mankind.
Gibbon's death; and consequently, that we have the least detailed account of the mo^t interesting part of his life. The Author's first attempt at writing History, - 55 CHAPTER IX. The Author resumes his Studies, - .136 CHAPTER XVI. Wherever the distinction of birth is allowed to form a superior order in the state, education and example should always, and will often, produce among them a dignity of papers. Gibbon, in his communications wi& me on tiie subject of his Memoin, a subject which he had never mentioned to any other person, e&- prassed a determination of publishing them in Ins lifetime; and never ap- pears to have departed fr Om that resolution, excepting in one of his letters annexed, in which he intimates a doubt, though rather carelessly, whether in his time, or at any time, they would meet the eye of the public.
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Gibbon's appearing, in some respect, not to have been satisfied with them, as he had so frequently varied their form : yet, notwithstanding this difiidence, the compositions, though unfinished, are so excellent, that they may justly entitle my friend to appear as his own biographer, rather Digitized by Google INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. A lively desire of knowing and of recording our ances- tors so generally prevails, that it must depend on the influ- ence of some common principle in the minds of men.The two remaining sketches are still more imperfect. Truth, naked, unblushing truth, the first virtue of more serious history, must be the sole recommendation of this personal narrative.It is difficult to discover the order in which these several pieces were writtex^ but there is reason to believe that the most copious was the last From all these the following Memoirs have been carefully selected, and put together. The style shall be simple and familiar ; but style is the image of character ; and the habits of correct writuig may produce, without labor or design, the ap- pearance of art and study.In them, and in his different Letters which I have added, will be found a complete picture of his 4aients, his disposition^ his studies, and his attainments. Gibbon prepares for his Italian Journey, - - 162 CHAPTER XVIII. Fifty or a hundred years may be allotted to an indi- vidual, but we step forwards beyond death with such hopes as religion and philosophy will suggest ; and we fill up the silent vacancy that precedes our birth, by asso- ciating ourselves to the authors of our existence.Those slight variatic Mjs of character, which naturally arose in the progress of his Kfe, will be unfolded in a 0eries of Letters, selected from a correspondence between him and rayselfi which continued fall thirty years, and ended with his death. Gibbon is entered at Westminster School, - 36 CHAPTER Vn. The Author's Tour in Switzerland, 91 Digitized by Google CONTENTS. Mademoiselle Curchod— afterwards Madame Neckert - . Gibbon publishes his firet Work, - - .115 CHAPTER XIV. Our calmer judgment will rather tend to moderate, than to suppress, the pride of an ancient and worthy race.