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THE friends of the distinguished individual whose extraordinary deeds of philanthropy form the principal subject of the following pages, have long regretted that no memoir of his life has yet been presented to the public, in which full justice is done to the motives by which he was actuated, in the unparalleled career of benevolence that has immortalized his name. The deficiency they have deplored, it is the object of this work to supply, from information derived from a variety of sources, of whose originality and authenticity a particular description will naturally be expected at its author's hands.
About four years since, the confidential servant who had attended Mr. Howard in most of his journeys abroad, and who was with him at his death, closed a chequered existence in the infirmary at Liverpool, and upon his death-bed sent for a respectable minister of that town, into whose possession, and that of some of its other inhabitants, who kindly visited him during his last illness,-and not without hopes of having been the instruments of leading him to repent of the error of his ways, -he delivered a rough journal of his travels; the memorandum
books which his master had with him at his death; some of that master's original letters; and other papers, illustrative of his unwearied labours in the cause of humanity, and the general excellence of his character, in private, as in public life. These various documents were afterwards submitted to one of the earliest, and most intimate of my friends, with whom I have since become connected by nearer ties, the Rev. Thomas Raffles, LL. D. of Liverpool, who suggested to me the idea of preparing for the press, from these, and other materials which he would aid me in collecting, a Memoir of our Philanthropist's life, in whose compilation his own want of leisure prevented his engaging. Having, through his introduction, obtained the use of the papers, formerly in the possession of Thomasson, the servant alluded to, no time was lost in making application to the successor of Mr. Howard's pastor, at Bedford, for his assistance in procuring the information which that town and its neighbourhood was likely to supply; and it was then I learned, for the first time, that a life of this great and good man was in contemplation, from materials in the possession of the family of the late Rev. Mr. Smith, to which they had added every thing of interest that their long and intimate connexion with Mr. Howard and his friends enabled them to obtain. Unwilling, therefore, to create a rivalry between those whose object and views were the same, though their resources were distinct and independent, a communication was immediately opened with Mr. Newton Bosworth,
of Cambridge, into whose hands the papers in question had prudently been delivered; in consequence of which an arrangement was made, transferring, for a second time, the task of becoming the biographer of Mr. Howard from abler hands to mine. Thus furnished with information, the greater part of which had never before met the public eye, an announcement of the projected biography was made in some of the principal periodical journals; in answer to which I was most liberally furnished, by the near relative of Mr. Howard, in whose possession the invaluable original remains, with several extracts from his own private diary of some of the most interesting years of his singularly useful life. But valuable as was the stock of materials now collected, it soon received a most important addition, in the kind communication with which I was most obligingly favoured by Dr. Brown, Principal of the Marischal College, Aberdeen, of the various entries he had made in his commonplace-book of the most striking particulars of Mr. Howard's journeys of philanthropy, received from his own lips. These were, from time to time, augmented by the reminiscences of Dr. Lettsom, the Rev. Mr. Lewin, and several other of the friends of this extraordinary man, with whom, wherever it was probable that they could give any authentic intelligence as to his manners and habits, I have made it my business either to converse or correspond; having also had personal communications on this subject with his surviving domestics, and some others, in the humbler walks of life, who
were acquainted with different parts of his eventful history.
In moulding the materials, thus carefully collected from every quarter to which it was probable that reference could be made with any prospect of success, into one connected narrative, it has been my anxious wish so to detail every circumstance of his life, as to exhibit the illustrious subject of my biography in the character which truly belonged to him, as one of the most excellent of the earth, both in his private relations, and his public labours; no less ardent in his devotion as a Christian, in the closet, nor less exemplary in the discharge of his duties as a husband, a father, and a friend, in the retirement of the domestic circle, than prompt, unwearied, and disinterested, in the performance of those unprecedented deeds of benevolence by which he has gained to himself the honourable distinction of the Philanthropist of the World. The peculiar traits in his private character - the principal incidents of his domestic history the record of his feelings, as a man and as a Christian, under trials and difficulties such as few are exposed to, are now, chiefly, for the first time, presented to the public, either in his own language, or from the authentic information of friends who knew him well. But in this part of the following memoirs, as in that which relates to his public conduct, it would be unpardonable in their author to omit freely and fully acknowledging the assistance he has derived, from the View of the Character and Public Services of Mr. Howard, published soon
after his death by his friend Dr. Aikin; the undoubted authenticity of the information which it contains, rendering his work a most indispensable auxiliary to any more extended biography of that singular ornament of the human race, whose Life would, in all probability, never again have been composed, had his family and friends thought proper to furnish this abler writer with those materials which it is my happier lot to have obtained. Throughout the following pages their author trusts it will be evident also, that all possible diligence has been used to extract from the other accounts and anecdotes of Mr. Howard's life which have already appeared in print, few and meagre as they are, every particular that can be deemed interesting, whilst it may be relied on as authentic. In tracing the progress of those journeys of philanthropy, which have given importance to every thing connected with the beneficent being who performed them, recourse too has, of necessity, been had to his own publications; and from their pages, with a degree of trouble and labour inconceivable to those who may not follow me through the detail, the whole of the more prominent circumstances of the condition in which he found every jail, and prison, and lazaretto, and hospital, that he visited in the course of his repeated journeyings at home and abroad, have been thrown into a regular narrative. This course appeared to me the only one that could be consistently adopted, in a work professing to give a full account of Mr. Howard's life, in which his travels on these errands of mercy