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which are adapted to those only, “who, weary of themselves, have recourse to it as a pleasing dream of which, when they awake, they voluntarily dismiss the images from their minds."
The habits of retirement in which Mr. Abraham Newland indulged, supply few singular incidents, curious circumstances, or interesting anecdotes : those that are contained in these pages, are contributions from some of his nearest friends, and if we have not always shewn them with the colouring partiality would be inclined to give them, it will be recollected, that fidelity is the best recommendation of history; and that if we owe respect to the memory of the dead, our regard for the living should teach us, that yet more respect is due to knowledge, to virtue, and to truth.
In a commercial country where the acquisition of wealth is the principal
object of ambition, and where the station and rank of every individual in society is much determined by his success or disappointment in this particular, it may be of some consequence to expose one or more of the channels by which opulence is secured; and he who facilitates such a discovery, will perhaps be of as much utility as the man who employs himself in recording the whispers of a drawing room, the disputes of a council table,
council table, or 'the factions of a camp.
Biography may be divided into two classes, public and private ; and we are justly told, that many valuable observa, tions on the conduct of human life may be drawn from those who have been beneficial to the world in either situation. The subject of these pages supported both a public and a private situation with credit and advantage : in selecting; therefore, the life of Mr.
Abraham Newland, we have had the opportunity of blending with our details,
account of the establishment with which he was connected for much more than half a century; and which is unquestionably the most splendid mo. nument of commercial greatness raised by the labour and ingenuity of man in any part of the world. It might have been desireable that Mr. Newland, who was so intimately acquainted with the subject, should have himself shewn the progressive advances of that magnificent institution, which he must have unavoidably done, had he condescended to be come his own biographer; yet numerous are the difficulties with which modesty has to encounter in such an undertaking, and in this criticising age, Cæsar himself would be again charged with carelessness and infidelity, and some Asinius Pollio would have arisen to misrepresent and defame the most faithful narrative.
For the purposes of this little work, the writer has had no occasion, in imitation of some modern biographers, to give a diffuse list of authorities printed and manuscript, nor has there been any inmotive to search the great libraries at, Paris and Rome, in the hope of discovering some neglected composition, or latent anecdote, absolutely insignificant, but relatively important, as illustrative of some fact connected with the enquiry. The field of literature, as well as the field of battle, is said often to be the scene of cruelty, if not of slaughter, where the
“ teterrima belli
instead of being the lovely Helen, or the more lovely Goddess Liberty, is frequently a letter, or an accent of some dead language. In our present pursuit our readers will have no reason to feel alarm from such perilous conflicts ; they may proceed in the story with perfect tranquillity, and if from tædium they have nothing to apprehend, we, although possessing the proper solicitude for their recreation, shall be regardless of the rest,