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FOR a Memoir of Dr ADAM, suitable to his various qualities as a man, and as a scholar, there does not exist any sufficient fund of materials. Had not the authour of the present attempt been fully convinced of this deficiency, his love for his excellent friend would have prompted him to make a similar experiment, soon after the melancholy event which rendered it proper. Of this, however, he laid aside all thoughts, till it was recently brought under his view by the earnest solicitations of a friend. In this instance, therefore, as in others of the same nature, the mere act of beginning the work may be said to have amounted to almost half its accomplishment. From a scanty stock of materials, and by the aid of memory, the writer has been enabled to complete much more than he was led to anticipate from his original expectations.
Authours commonly bring before their readers, in hostile array, all the difficulties which they have encountered; often, no doubt, with a view to excite commiseration. The only difficulties which the present writer experienced, amidst all his wants, proceeded from anxiety to do justice to high conceptions of the character to be delineated, and from those feelings which are necessarily connected with the unceasing calls of a laborious profession, in direct hostility to all literary speculation. Upon the whole, in this as in many other occurrences in life equally important, he has found it beneficial to apply the words of TERENCE:" Ut quimus, quando ut volumus non licet." His grateful remembrances are due to several friends for their assistance, and for their encouraging expressions. To the gentleman who has so disinterestedly taken this narrative under his protection, and to his friends, the authour trusts that his next appearance will be more creditable.
Every reader will be able to discover faults among those reflections which the writer has ventured to introduce in the course of his narrative. But every reader may also perceive an anxious wish on the part of the authour to use the means which are in his hands, and to do justice to departed excellence. And he who sees the latter, yet cannot forgive the former, is one whom the authour is not solicitous to please, and whom it may be some honour to offend.
EDINBURGH, 31st July 1810.