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T was my intention to have dedicated this edition of Spenfer's Works to the late Lord Chancellor Campbell; but fudden death defeated what was my long-entertained purpose, and what, I may now state, had been his Lordship's kindly expreffed defire in no other refpect had I ever indulged any expectation; for, although honoured with his Lordship's acquaintance for more than fifty years, I never received, nor afked any favour at his hands, beyond the continuance of our early, and then more equal, friendship. It is well known, from
In the course of converfation, not a few years ago, his Lordfhip more than hinted that it might be poffible to procure for me an appointment connected with the County Courts; but I at once put a negative upon the matter, on the ground that I had long ceafed to attend in my place as a barrifter, and that during the interval the practice of the law in many important particulars had been altered and improved. As far back as 1832, for different though ftill profeffional reasons, I had
several paffages in Lord Campbell's writings, that one of his most earnest aspirations was that his name should be connected with polite letters, as well as with abftrufe law; and when he became aware that I had fomewhat advanced in the prefent undertaking, he, with much delicacy, intimated a wish, if the work had no other deftination, that it fhould be infcribed to him. His Lordship's formal permiffion, however, bears date only a comparatively fhort time before his decease.
In the five volumes now in the hands of the reader, I may be permitted to say, that attention has been most of all, and very anxiously, directed to the purity and accuracy of Spenfer's text. I fhall presently, and with great brevity, show in what degree this first duty of an editor has hitherto been neglected or discharged. With a view to attainable fidelity I have not omitted to confult,
declined the office of ftipendiary magiftrate; and in 1848 or 1849 I requested Lord Campbell not to interpofe in my behalf with a view to fuch duties. I was then Secretary to the Commiffion on the British Museum, and had finally, and I fear unwifely, devoted myself to literature. I only mention these particulars to show that while his Lordship, for several of his "Lives of the Chancellors," was drawing upon my fmall refources, he was not unmindful of a more than due return. I am aware that in other inftances he was supposed to have been negligent of the claims of individuals from whom he had derived, perhaps over-estimated, information and affistance. I may be allowed to add that Lord Campbell made me the medium through which his biographical labours originally reached the public.