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DUKE OF MARLBOROUGH.
As it is natural to have a fondness for what has cost us much time and attention to produce, I hope your Grace will forgive my endeavour to preserve this work from oblivion, by affixing to it your memorable name.
I shall not here presume to mention the illustrious passages of your life, which are celebrated by the whole age, and have been the subject of the most sublime pens; but if I could convey you to posterity in your private character, and describe the stature, the behaviour, and aspect of the Duke of Marlborough, I question not but it would fill the reader with more agreeable images, and give him a more delightful entertainment, than what can be found in the following, or any other book.
One can not indeed, without offence to your self, observe, that you excel the rest of mankind in the least, as well as the greatest, endowments. Nor were it a circumstance to be mentioned, if the graces and attractions of your pe zon were not the only pre-eminence you have above others, which is left, almost unobserved, by greater writers.
Yet how pleasing would it be to those who shall read the surprising revolutions in your sto
ry, to be made acquainted with your ordinary life and deportment? How pleasing would it be to hear that the same man who had carried fire and sword into the countries of all that had opposed the cause of liberty, and struck a terror into the armies of France, had, in the midst of his high station, a behaviour as gentle as is usual in the first steps towards greatness? And if it were possible to express that easy grandeur, which did at once persuade and command, it would appear as clearly to those who come, as it does to his contemporaries, that all the great events which were brought to pass under the conduct of so well governed a spirit, were the blessings of Heaven upon wisdom and valour; and all which seem adverse fell out by divine permission, which we are not to search into.
You have passed that year of life wherein the most able and fortunate captain, before your time, declared he had lived enough both to nature and to glory; and your Grace may make that reflection with much more justice. He spoke it after he had arrived at empire, by an usurpation upon those whom he had enslaved, but the Prince of Mindleheim may rejoice in a sovereignty which was the gift of him whose dominions he had preserved.
Glory, established upon the uninterrupted success of honourable designs and actions, is not subject to diminution; nor can any attempts pre-. vail against it, but in the proportion in which the narrow circuit of rumour bears to the unlimited extent of fame.
We may congratulate your grace not only upon your high achievements, but likewise upon the
happy expiration of your command, by which your glory is put out of the power of fortune: and when your person shall be so too, that the Author and Disposer of all things may place you in that higher mansion of bliss and immortality which is prepared for good princes, lawgivers, and heroes, when HE, in his due time, removes them from the envy of mankind, is the hearty prayer of,
Most devoted, humble servant,