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FROM ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS IN THE POSSESSION
OF THE FAMILY.
NOW FIRST PUBLISHED.
BY G. WINGROVE COOKE, ESQ.
AUTHOR OF “MEMOIRS OF LORD BOLINGBROKE."
IN TWO VOLUMES.
The following work is a history of one of our most distinguished statesmen and orators. It was originally written by men of acknowledged literary merit, who had access to all the private papers of the Earl, and were assisted by all the information concerning him which could be gathered by his descendants. Although thus derived from the most authentic sources, and originally intended to be given to the world, it has hitherto remained unpublished; and a short statement of the history of the work is now necessary to its identity.
Shaftesbury's love of literature was apparent in his descendants for several generations. The assiduous care which he bestowed upon the education of his grandson was, perhaps, the remote cause of
the following vindication of his own memory. This grandson inherited with the title the genius of his grandfather; and is no less known as the author of the “ Characteristics,” than the first earl is as the author of the Habeas Corpus Act and the Exclusion Bill. The fourth Earl did not derogate from the honours of his house : like his predecessors, he was distinguished as a keen advocate for popular rights, and as a munificent patron of literature. This patronage, at a time less propitious than the present, when literature stood in need of patrons, produced the following work.
It was a natural ambition for the descendant of so distinguished a character, to be desirous of clearing the founder of his family from the clouds of abuse which the court writers had rolled around his memory. For this purpose his lordship obtained the assistance of Mr. Benjamin Martyn, a gentleman who had achieved a high literary reputation by the production of a successful tragedy. Mr. Martyn and the Earl were long engaged upon their task, and employed great care in the collection and examination of materials.