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BIOGRAPHY AND OBITUARY.
FOR THE YEAR
LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN,
In the Index, at the end of the present volume, are the names of several eminent and excellent persons, of whom it would have been very satisfactory to the Editor, had he been enabled to insert full biographical notices in the body of the work; but all application for materials to the near connections of those persons proved fruitless. There are, in particular, two lamented individuals, the one of whom was in the church, the other at the bar; both men of great talents, and extensive attainments, of actively virtuous life, and of the highest character in their respective professions; and yet of whom, owing to the cause above-mentioned, little is recorded beyond the mere fact of their decease. On this apparent apathy, regarded in a private point of view, it would be improper in the Editor to make a single comment; but, looking at the subject with reference to the general gratification and interest, he must be permitted to lament, that, at a time when the public mind is unceasingly vitiated by narratives of the profligate adventures of strumpets and swindlers, every opportunity is not anxiously embraced of counteracting the pernicious tendency of those infamous details, by describing the honourable and successful career of persons distinguished for their moral and intellectual qualities; and thereby of, in some degree, continuing to posterity the benefit which the bright example of such persons, while they lived, conferred on their contemporaries. It is pleasing to pass from these remarks to acknowledgment for the obliging assistance which has been afforded in the preparation of some of the memoirs in the present volume, by individuals, whose names it would not be consistent with delicacy to publish, but whose intimacy with the subjects of those memoirs qualified them, and whose courtesy induced them, to communicate much authentic and acceptable information. For the kind manner in which the last volume of the Annual Biography and Obituary was spoken of, in several critical publications, the Editor is also grateful. With regard to certain strictures on the same volume in the " Gentleman's Magazine," their tone and language might well justify him in abstaining from all notice of them. But he has too much respect for the opinion of the world, he has too much respect even for the publication in which those strictures appeared, to be wholly silent; although he will endeavour to comprize what he has to say in a very small compass. In the first place, he frankly avows that he regrets not having, in every instance, distinctly specified, in the only two volumes of the Annual Biography and Obituary, (before the present) for the management of which he is responsible, the authority for the memoirs, or for the component parts of the memoirs, of which those volumes consisted. But, although particular acknowledgment might be wanting, in general acknowledgment he was not deficient. For proof of this allegation, he refers to the statement, in the Preface to the last volume, that its contents had been derived from various sources; —" principally from contemporary publications of every respectable description, and from private and friendly contributions;" and to the subsequent enumeration of the memoirs which were original, and of those which were not so. He, however, repeats his regret that he contented himself with this general acknowledgment; and the present volume, in which his authorities are particularized with scrupulous accuracy, will at least show that he is not one of those who, when they become aware of an error, hesitate to correct it. As to the question of the propriety or impropriety of his deriving his materials from the best sources that may present themselves, he begs simply to advert to the conduct of his censor in that respect. For some years past, the "Gentleman's Magazine," (a publication rendered venerable by its age, by its merits, and by the recollection of the learned men who, from time to time, have "recreated their travailed