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FROM THE YEAR 1776 TO THE CLOSE OF THE PROCEEDINGS IN PARIJA
MENT, FOR THE REPEAL OF THE UNION.
COMPILED FROM OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS.
BY ROBERT HUISH, Esq. F.R.S. F.Z.A.
ATZOR OF THE “LIFE OP THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE." " MEMOIRS OP GEORGE IV."
“ Domestic ADVISER, OR FEMALE'S FRIEND," &c. &c.
PUBLISHED FOR THE PROPRIETOR, AND SOLD BY
W. JOHNSTON, LOVELL'S COURT, ST. PAUL'S.
It is universally admitted that there is no department of Literature attended with such discouraging circumstances, or which requires a greater exercise of judgement and discrimination, than a detail of the actions of an individual, whilst he is yet living, or before his contemporaries have had the proper and necessary opportunities of appreciating his character, and forming a decision of it upon the irrefutable basis of truth and impartiality. On every side, the biographer sees himself surrounded by those, almost inextricable difficulties, which operate with such a repellent force, as to render the task, if not a hopeless one, at least one of the most ungracious and disagreeable, that can possibly be undertaken. A becoming delicacy, and a justifiable respect for the feelings of the living and their connections, ought always to have a preponderating influence over a liberal mind, in abstaining from a recital of many circumstances, the publicity of which might inflict a pang upon an unoffending individual, and prove of serious injury to the character of some of the acting parties, without any good or beneficial result; at the same time, that food is administered to the degraded appetite, which delights to feed on the offals of calumny and detraction. Some strong predilections and partialities will generally exist in the breast of the biographer for the object of his memoir, and in some cases the contrary will take place; it becomes therefore a difficult task to steer clear between fulsome and servile panegyric, and violent and overstrained abuse; in either case, the beauty of truth is lost, and particular events are glossed over, that they may not throw a darkening shade over the brightness of the pirture, which is attempted to be drawn, or on the other hand, they are so perverted and magnified, that the character of the individual becomes caricatured ; a mass of deformity is exhibited, without scarcely a single redeeming virtue, and a picture is transmitted to posterity, in which truth is the principal feature that is wanting.
Seldom indeed, and we may add, never does it happen, that due and proper justice is done to the character of an individual during his life time, and it is only when he is removed from the scenes of this world, that his real dispositions as they displayed themselves, begin to be properly understood and appreciated. Personal and political animosities have then in a great measure subsided, and the individual is seen through the clear and pellucid medium of truth and impartiality. That such, however, is not always the case, is evident from Scott's Life of Napoleon, and Moore's Life of Sheridan, two works, which for the reputation of the respective Authors, it were well, if they had never written them.
When individual character is to be discussed, candour is one of the first requisites, and in the present instance, some apology may be deemed necessary, for having undertaken the onerous task of delineating the character of an individual of whose private life so little is known, and of whose public one, so many and discordant opinions have been held. It has, therefore, been the chief aim of the Author of the following work, to adhere strictly to historical facts, as they have been transmitted by the most authentic authority, but at the same time, as an ardent admirer of universal liberty and freedom of action without reference to sectarian principles, to uphold the subject of his memoir, as the giant who has broken the chains of religious intolerance, who made the bigots of his country feel that political rights are not to be determined by modes of faith, and that an exclusion from them on the score of religions, is incompatible with the spirit and principle of the British Constitution.