[from Memoirs of Bishop Hildesley]
IN the ensuing Narrative, and in the several miscellaneous papers subjoined, the Editor confiders himself as having presented the fruits of accurate attention, and of strict fidelity,
IT was his earnest with to make a very respectable name better known than it seemed like to be, from the slight accounts hitherto offered to: the publick. Bishop HILDESLEY, in his opinion at least, merited a more extensive delineation. of the amiable qualities which. he personally possessed ; as well as of those singular. exertions in the cause of true religion, which at length produced THE MANKS VERSION of the HOLY SCRIPTURES; and have equally adorned his character as a philanthropist and as a divine.
THE task of preparing this work was indeed pleasant ; although, in certain respects, it required a train of investigation somewhat toilsome. from the scantiness of original documents that. first appeared; reduced as they were to a still narrower compass, by the irremedial loss of many interesting papers, which his lordship throughout life had carefully preserved.
PERSEVERING inquiry, however, was tried with success ; and various materials of the kind have thus come to light, which will be found in the course of the volume. They are the liberal communications either of respectable clergymen in England, and the Isle of Mann, or of other kind friends to the deceased Bishop. With most of them his biographer has not the honour of a personal acquaintance ; and he therefore feels it the more his duty very cordially to acknowledge the obligation, and to return them his sincerest thanks.
SOME account may be expected of his motive for giving so large an Appendix. He might, perhaps with propriety, have thrown the substance of some particular letters, and of other pieces thus added, into the body of. the Memoirs ; but, he chose to insert those articles in their simple state of originality rather than incur the charge of having lessened their merit by mutilation. :
IN consequence of many additional letters being sent in during the impression the Editor was obliged to alter the numbering of some of them; yet, as the annual dates of all are expressed in the Table of Contents, those very few which are now erroneously referred to, in the beginning of the Memoirs, will easily be traced. He deems no farther apology requisite for having thus been enabled to render the book more valuable. Some trivial errata may probably occur ; but he relies on the candour of his readers to correct and excuse them.
WHAT Dr. Jortin, a school-fellow of our good prelate, has observed, in reference to his patron, archbishop Herring, may not unsuitably be adopted here. " If these papers should live, protected by the subject which they treat, and the materials of which they are composed, they may perhaps assist in doing justice to his memory *."
Such, truly, was the chief object proposed by the undertaking ; and in this view the performance is now sent forth, without indifference, and without anxiety.
Chelsea, WEEDEN BUTLER.
*JORTINS TRACTS, Vol. II. p. 518. A work digested and prepared for the press by the writer of these Memoirs