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THE following volumes contain the miscellaneous writings of Thomas Babington Macaulay, consisting of various essays which have appeared in the English Reviews, principally the Edinburgh, since the year 1825, printed from a list corrected by himself. His articles have been universally admired, both in England and America, for their vivid eloquence, extensive learning, and splendour of illustration; and the publisher has had reason to believe, that a collected edition of them would be received with favour by the American public. It has been his aim to present them in a form worthy of the high merit of their contents.
Mr. Macaulay has not been exclusively occupied with the literary productions which have given him so brilliant a reputation. He has been hardly less distinguished in public life. He came into Parliament shortly before the debates upon the Reform Bill, and his speeches, especially upon that question, were highly eloquent, vigorous, and effective. He resided for some time in India, in a lucrative and responsible official capacity. He returned to England about three years since, and is now a Member of Parliament for
Edinburgh, and is also Secretary at War, which gives him a seat in the cabinet. He is in the prime of life, and we may indulge the hope that the literature of his language may be enriched by further contributions from his pen. Living in another hemisphere, we should regret to see his great powers of varied attainments wholly absorbed in politics-in employments which many others, probably, can discharge as well, and which occupy his time and thoughts to the exclusion of those literary pursuits, in some departments of which no one can dispute the palm with him.
Boston, May, 1840
TOWARDS the close of the year 1823, Mr. Lemon, Deputy Keeper of the State Papers, in the course of his researches among the presses of his office, met with a large Latin manuscript. With it were found corrected copies of the foreign despatches written by Milton, while he filled the office of Secretary, and several papers relating to the Popish Trials and the Rye-house Plot. The whole was wrapped up in an envelope, superscribed "To Mr. Skinner, Merchant." On examination, the large manuscript proved to be the long lost Essay on the Doctrines of Christianity, which, according to Wood and Toland, Milton finished after the Restoration, and deposited with Cyriac Skinner. Skinner, it is well known, held the same political opinions with his illustrious friend. It is therefore probable, as Mr. Lemon conjectures, that he may have fallen under the suspicions of the government during that persecution of the Whigs which followed the dissolution of the Oxford Parliament, and that, in consequence of a general seizure of his papers, this work may have been brought to the office in which it had been found.
* Joannis Miltoni, Angli, de Doctrina Christiana libri duo posthumi. A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, compiled from the Holy Scriptures alone. By JOHN MILTON. Translated from the original by Charles R. Sumner, M. A., &c. &c.