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what he could not be without the thought that seeks expression in every act and word. Such a one must be registered among the active of mankind, he must be illustrious, and will be so just in proportion to the grandeur of his idea and the vividness of its realization. In him humanity is most nobly developed ; he knows his heritage, and would make it the birthright of the universe. Others there are who seem never to have grasped, but always to aspire to truth and power; like a torrent they bound from crag to crag in uncertain channel, yet always towards their object; and they are great because the love of the good and glorious and mighty is within them. But some again remind us of the lake unstirred by current, lit with the rays of heaven, veiling its depths, yet intimating that they are. They win our admiration, but lack the lofty and earnest purpose that of all things most ennobles. What matters it, if “the diamond light up the secret mine,” we would see it clothed with its proper brilliance by the glare of day. But we stray too widely ;-only let us add that most of the Illustrious may be referred to one of these three classes. These are the men who mould the times, whose energies it would be well for all to emulate, whose career, nay, the very picture of whose career, if faithfully portrayed, does service to the world. If the brief bright day of the earth has been succeeded by long centuries of night, stars there have been beautiful and sublime stars, radiant through storm and cloud ; and delightful is the task to watch each one as it culminates and wanes.
It is a proverb no less truthful than common, that “ example is better than precept.” The latter is compulsive, the former attractive. There can be no question as to which is more powerful, the statuelike principle or its living impersonation ; and here is the advantage of Biography. Few only can be benefited by the actual converse and example of the great and good; but this may be in part embalmed. In fact, not only does “the evil that men do, live after them,” their actions, while remembered, are all instinct with influences of some sort or another. In the pages that do honour to their memory, motives may often be revealed, and actions viewed in all their consequences; in imagination we hold converse with the dead or absent, mark the tenor of their way and breathe the spirit of the time, now stimulated to exertion, and
now, it may be, restrained from wanton injury and wrong. Human sympathies are strong ; indeed, there are no mightier agencies in the world than those affections which unite man to man. They have both nurtured and destroyed communities; and individuals tending towards each other or a common centre they have lured together to ruin or success. Biography has corresponding power for good or ill; the portrait has its magic charm, if the friendly grasp boasts its electric fire.
THE BIOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE occupies then a position of, at least, responsibility. It shall be, as it has been, our constant endeavour worthily to execute the objects it professes. What we have accomplished is before our readers. It is theirs to praise or blame. We again thank them for their support, indulging hope of its continuance, as also of a still extending circle of acquaint
We prefer deeds to promises ; yet venture to assure our friends, that no effort shall be omitted to make our next volume acceptable, both in the selection of characters and in the style of our sketches.
CONTENTS OF VOL. III.