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from time to time, your illustrious muse. And now, dear sir, a long, a last adieu !


I have, in every material respect, punctually complied with the wishes of my deceased friend. I have exercised the latitude indulged to me of omitting the prose compositions, and also the poems of the late Mr Seward, as it was judged advisable to limit the size of this publication to three volumes. The imitation of Telemachus is also omitted; and, in publishing the correspondence, every thing is retrenched which has reference to personal anecdote. I am aware that, in this particular, I have not consulted the taste of the age; but, in my opinion, nothing less important than the ascertainment of historical fact justifies withdrawing the veil from the incidents of private life. I would not willingly have this suppression misconstrued. There is not a line in my possession but might be published with honour to her who bequeathed me the manuscripts, and with justice to those named in them and those in Mr Constable's possession, being more generally of a literary nature, are still less liable to exception. But few can remember the feelings, passions, and prejudices of their earlier career, without feeling reluctance to their being brought before the public; and, in some late instances, the parties concerned might have remonstrated with the editor, like the dethroned monarch with his insulting accuser:

"And must I ravel out

My weaved-up follies
If thy offences were upon record,

Would it not shame thee in so fair a troop,
To read a lecture of them?"

The poetry has been published precisely according to Miss Seward's directions. To the numerous friends of Miss Seward, these volumes will form an acceptable present; for, besides their poetical merit, they form a pleasing register of her sentiments, her feelings, and her affections. The general reception they may meet with is more dubious, since collections of occasional and detached poems have rarely been honoured with a large share of public favour. Should Miss Seward's poetry be admitted as an exception, it will add much to the satisfaction which I feel in the faithful discharge of the task intrusted to me by the bequest of the amiable and highly accomplished author.


[This Biographical Sketch was not written by the author of these volumes, but by the late Mr John Ballantyne, Bookseller in Edinburgh; whose wit, lively talents, and kindness of disposition, will make him long regretted and remembered by his friends.]

PERHAPS there exists no work, either of instruction or entertainment, in the English language, which has been more generally read, and more universally admired, than the Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. It is difficult to say in what the charm consists, by which persons of all classes and denominations are thus fascinated; yet the majority of readers will recollect it as among the first works which awakened and interested their youthful attention; and feel, even in advanced life, and in the maturity of their understanding, that there are still associated with Robinson Crusoe, the sentiments peculiar to that period, when all is new, all glittering in prospect, and when those visions are most bright, which the experience of afterlife tends only to darken and destroy.

This work was first published in April, 1719; its reception, as may be supposed, was universal. It is a singular circumstance, that the Author, (the

subject of our present Memoir,) after a life spent in political turmoil, danger, and imprisonment, should have occupied himself, in its decline, in the production of a work like the present; unless it may be supposed, that his wearied heart turned with disgust from society and its institutions, and found solace in picturing the happiness of a state, such as he has assigned to his hero. Be this as it may, society is for ever indebted to the memory of De Foe for his production of a work, in which the ways of Providence are simply and pleasingly vindicated, and a lasting and useful moral is conveyed through the channel of an interesting and delightful story.

Daniel de Foe was born in London in the year 1661. His father was James Foe, of the parish of St Giles', butcher. Much curious speculation, with which we shall not trouble our readers, has arisen from the circumstance of Daniel's having, in his own instance, prefixed the De to the family name. We are inclined to adopt the opinion of that critical enquirer, who supposes that Daniel did so, being ashamed of the lowness of his origin, and conceived the prefixed De had a sound of Norman dignity with it. His family as well as himself, were Dissenters; but it does not appear that his tenets were so strict as his sect required; for he complains, in the Preface to his More Reformation, that some Dissenters had reproached him, as if he had said, that “the gallows and the galleys ought to be the penalty of going to the conventicle; forgetting, that I must design to have my father, my wife, six innocent children, and myself, put into the same condition."

De Foe's education was rather circumscribed, which is the more to be lamented, as, in so many instances, he has exhibited proofs of rare natural genius. He was sent by his father, at twelve years old, to the Newington Green Dissenting Academy, then kept by Mr Morton, where he remained about four years; and this appears to have been all the education he ever received.' When he was remanded from school, it would seem, that, his genius not lying towards the marrow-bone and cleaver, his father had put him to some other trade, of what nature we are unable to learn, De Foe himself being very reserved on the subject. When charged by Tutchin' with having his breeding as an apprentice to a hosier, he asserts, (May 1705,) "that he never was a hosier, or an apprentice, but admits that he had been a trader." 3

1 [Mr Wilson, the industrious author of "The Life and Times of De Foe," London, 3 vols. 8vo, 1830, says, (vol. i., p. 27,)" Of De Foe's attainments at the academy, it is impossible now to speak with any certainty, but some light may be thrown upon the subject by his own confessions, as they are scattered in his writings. He tells us in one of his 'Reviews, that he had been master of five languages, and that he had studied the mathematics, natural philosophy, logic, geography, and history. With the theory and practice of our constitution he was also well acquainted, and he studied politics as a science. Under the direction of his tutor, he went through a complete course of theology, in which he acquired a proficiency, that enabled him to cope with the most acute writers of that disputatious age."]

Tutchin, the publisher of the Observator, and a steady opponent of De Foe, both in politics and literature.

3 Perhaps the salvo he laid to his conscience for this apparently false assertion was, that though he dealt in hose, he did not make them. [There is reason to believe that De Foe had been originally designed for the ministry among the Presby

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