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confusion, or roughness. ... The writing of letters has so much to do in all the occurrences of human life, that no gentleman can avoid showing himself in this kind of writing : occasions will daily force him to make use of his pen, which, besides the consequences that, in his affairs, his well- or illmanaging of it often draws after it, always lays him open to a severer examination of his breeding, sense, and abilities than oral discourses, whose transient faults, dying for the most part with the sound that gives them life, and so not subject to a strict review, more easily escape observation and censure.'

Political letters, except in very few instances, will be conspicuous by their absence. The chief obstacle to their introduction here has been the want of sufficieut interest in any one or two such letters taken by themselves. The correspondence of politicians is a branch of literature in itself; and though political letters are very often most interesting in their bearing on questions of domestic and foreign policy when read in a collective form, they will be found dull and meaningless in fragments. A reference to such works as Stanhope’s ‘Life of Pitt,' • The Bedford Letters, The Correspondence of the Duchess of Marlborough,'Grimblot's · Letters of William III. and Louis XIV.,'The Correspondence of George III. with Lord North,' or of William IV. with Earl Grey, and many other such collections, will help to establish my assertion on this point.

In regard to the arrangement of the different epistles, it was decided, after careful consideration, not to publish them in groups according to the subject matter, but chronologically according to the date of each author's birth. With these few observations I will leave it to others to expatiate on letter-writing as an art and on the varied beauties of our own epistolary literature in particular; and will conclude with an expression of thanks to those gentlemen who have

kindly granted me permission to reprint extracts from recently published works.

To my friend Mr. Edmund Gosse I am very grateful for the interest he has taken in the progress of this volume, as well as for the benefit I have derived from his scholarly criticism, and for several iinportant contributions.



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1608-1674. Hyde, Sir Edward, to Lord Witherington ·


Edward, Earl of Clarendon, to Mr. Mordaunt 101

Sir Henry Bennet. . 102

1613–1667. Taylor, Jeremy, to John Evelyn


1620-1706. Evelyn, John, to Abraham Cowley

. 107

Lady Sunderland

. 109

1620-1678. Marvell, Andrew, to William Ramsden

. 111

the Mayor and Aldermen of Hull


Penruddock's, Mrs., last letter to her Husband


Mr., last letter to his Wife

. 115

1624-1673. Newcastle, Margaret, Duchess of, to her Husband . 116

1621–1683. Sidney, Algernon, to his father, the Earl of Leicester . 118

1627-1705. Ray, John, to Tankred Robinson .

1628-1699. Temple, Sir William, to Lord Lisle .


Mr. Godolphin


Lord Halifax

. 126

1636-1723. Russell, Lady Rachel, to King Charles II.


Dr. Tillotson, Dean of St. Paul's. 129

1630-1694. Tillotson, Dr., to the Earl of Shrewsbury.


Lady Rachel Russell

· 133

1631-1700. Dryden, John, to John Dennis


Elizabeth Thomas.


1632-1704. Locke, John, to Lady Calverley


1642-1727. Newton, Sir Isaac, to Richard Bentley.


1717. Lloyd, Dr., Bishop of St. Asaph, to Dr. Fell, Bishop of



Browne, Tom, to a Lady who smoked tobacco


1651-1685. Otway, Thomas, to Madam Barry

1658-1725. Plaxton, the Rev. George, to Ralph Thoresby


1687. Gwynne, Nell, to Lawrence Hyde

. 149

1660-1753. Sloane, Sir Hans, to John Ray

. 150

1661-1731. De Foe, Daniel, to the Earl of Halifax


1662–1742. Bentley, Dr. Richard, to John Evelyn.


the Archbishop of Canterbury . 156

1667-1745. Swift, Dr., to the Earl of Halifax


Dean, to Archbishop King.


the Earl of Oxford .

Lord-Treasurer Oxford

. 166

Mrs. Moore

. 168

1667-1735. Arbuthnot, Dr., to Dean Swift


1671-1729. Steele, Richard, to Mary Scurlock.

. 171

Lady Steele


the Earl of Halifax

. 173

1671-1757. Cibber, Colley, to Mrs. Pilkington

. 174



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