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to conceal your fhare of merit, in the many nati onal fervices which you have effected. Do what you will, the prefent age will be talking of your virtues, though posterity alone will do them juftice.
Other men pass thro' oppofitions and contending interefts in the ways of ambition; but your great abilities have been invited to power, and importuned to accept of advancement. Nor is it ftrange that this fhould happen to your Lordship, who could bring into the service of your sovereign the arts and policies of ancient Greece and Rome; as well as the moft exact knowledge of our own conftitution in particular, and of the interests of Europe in general; to which I must also add, a certain dignity in yourself, that (to say the least of it) has been always equal to thofe great honours which have been conferred upon You.
It is very well known how much the Church owed to You in the most dangerous day it ever faw, that of the arraignment of its prelates; and how far the civil power, in the late and prefent: reign, has been indebted to your counsels and wifdom.
But to enumerate the great advantages which the public has received from your administration, would be a more proper work for an history than for an address of this nature.
Your Lordship appears as great in your private life, as in the most important offices which you have borne. I would therefore rather chufe to fpeak of the pleasure you afford all who are admitted
into your converfation, of your elegant tafte in all the polite parts of learning, of your great humanity and complacency of manners, and of the furprifing influence which is peculiar to You in making every one who converfes with your Lordship prefer You to himself, without thinking the lefs meanby of his own talents. But if I fhould take notice of all that might be observed in your Lordship, I fhould have nothing new to fay upon any other character of diftinction. I am,
Non fumum ex fulgore, fed ex fumo dare lucem
One with a flash begins, and ends in finoke;
HAVE obferved, that a Reader feldom peruses a book with pleasure, until he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man, of a mild or choleric difpofition, married or a bachelor, with other particulars of the like nature, that conduce very much to the right understanding of an author. To gratify this curiofity, which is fo natural to a reader, I defign this paper and my next as prefatory difcourfes to my following writings, and fhall give fome account in them of the feveral perfons that are engaged in this work. As the chief VOL. I. A trouble
trouble of compiling, digefting, and correcting will fall to my fhare, I must do myfelf the justice to open the work with my own hiftory.
I was born to a finall hereditary eftate, which, according to the tradition of the village where it lies, was bounded by the fame hedges and ditches in William the Conqueror's time that it is at prefent, and has been delivered down from father to fon whole and entire, without the lofs or acquifition of a fingle field or meadow, during the fpace of fix hundred years. There runs a story in the family, that when my mother was gone with child of me about three months, the dreamt that the was brought to bed of a Judge: Whether this might proceed from a law-fuit which was then depending in the family, or my father's being a juftice of the peace, I cannot determine; for I am not fo vain as to think it prefaged any dignity that I should arrive at in my future life, though that was the interpretation which the neighbourhood put upon it. The gravity of my behaviour at my very first appearance in the world, and all the time that I fucked, feemed to faveur my mother's dream: For, as the has often told me, I threw away my rattle before I was two months old, and would not make ufe of my coral until they had taken away the bells from it.
As for the reft of my infancy, there being nothing in it remarkable, I fhall pafs it over in filence. Ĭ find, that, during my nonage, I had the reputation of a very fullen youth, but was always a favourite of my fchoolmafter, who ufed to fay, that my parts were folid, and would wear well. I had not been long at the univerfity, before I diftinguished myself by a moft profound filence; for during the space of eight years, excepting in the public exercifes of the college, I fcarce uttered the quantity of an hundred words; and indeed do not remember that I ever fpoke three fentences together in my whole life, Whilft I was in this learned body, I applied myfelf