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WILLIAM the IVth, Duke of DEVONSHIRE, . &c. &c. &c.
in the world, of whom nothing 1 more can be said, than what is recorded of some of the Antediluvian Patriarchs, to wit, that they lived so many years, and then died. That Writer pays but a wretched compliment to his Patron, who takes a vast deal of pains to.trące out his pedigree from a long line of insignificant ancestors; or, perhaps, in order to embellish fo dry and barren a subject, sets his inventive faculty at work, and attributes those virtues to them which their contemporaries were utter strangers to. The Compiler of the following Memoirs is under no necessity of making use of fuch mean and derpicable artifices. The British Annals, as well as other pieces, afford matter enough to any one who Thall attempt to give an account of the illustrious Family of CAVENDISH, whose
private as well as public virtues have rendered them a blessing to their country. -;
· Others, indeed, have undertaken to write on the same head; but then they have either superficially touched, or entirely passed over, such incidents, as not only deserved to be had in eternal remembrance, but to be handed down to posterity in the masterly stile of a Pliny. For this reason, I was induced to colle&t all the scattered materials * I could possibly meet with, and to place them in a regular series, with such reflections interspersed, as naturally occurred on the striking passages of each particular Life. Though the Structure I have raised from hence has no beauty nor elegancy to boast of, yet, at least it may claim the merit of strength and solidity, as it has truth for its basis. One of the principal motives for my engaging in a Work of this nature, may be seen in the historical Account prefixed to the Genuine Life of Cardinal WOLSEY, written by your Grace's virtuous, and therefore truly noble, Ancestor, Sir WilLIAM CAVENDISH, of whose Descendants it may be justly said, what, I believe, can be
* It is humbly presumed, that the picking up such materials may not be improperly compared to a jhip-wreck, the planks of which (says the great Lord Bacon) induftrious and wise men snatch up, and preserve them from the deluge of
faid of few Families, which have continued in an uninterrupted succession for so long a course of years, that there cannot be a single instance produced of any one of them who has degenerated from the bright example he set them.
How largely might I here expatiate on those topics which seem peculiar to Dedications! This I could do, perhaps, with much better address; and, I am sure, with far more truth, than fome I could mention. But we find by experience, that these Flowers of Rhetoric, which are fo lavishly bestowed, tho' at first they may please for their novelty, yet, like natural ones, they foon fade and become nauseous. This, in short, is no place for Panegyric; and indeed it would be a piece of impertinence to inform the Public, who, or what the Duke of Devonshire is. Let your Grace's own actions tell the world what you have been, and what it may still expect from one, who has already given us so many specimens of his unshaken Loyalty and inflexible Patriotism; and I have sufficient reason, even now in the decline of life, to flatter myself, that I may live long enough to see you give us a good many more.
I shall, therefore, conclude with just intimating, that, as the following Performance
was intended not fo much to do honour to your Grace, as to excite others to an emulation of those Virtues which have rendered your Family more illustrious than your fplendid titles and ample fortune, I make no doubt but that, notwithstanding all its defects and inaccuracies, it will not be thought wholly unworthy of your Patronage. This I can assure your Grace, that nothing will give me a greater pleasure than to have an opportunity of expatiating on the same subject, or at least in collecting materials for those who will certainly undertake the like talk when I am no more. In the interim, I beg that you will believe me to be, with the profoundest veneration,