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Milton, the least perhaps of all authors, stands in need of a Patron. But a great part of your Lordship's life has been
wpholding the same manly and enlightened principles of freedom, which pervade the Prose Writings of the greatest of our Pocts.
Your Lordship’s own eloquence is marked by the same rapidity, fire, and splendour, which cha
racterize what may be called the forensic productions of Milton, and which now appear complete in English for the first time. From the sympathy of genius, you cannot withhold your admiration of the author. There is no one, to whom I can, with more propriety, inscribe this edition of his works.
I am, my Lord,
Most obedient humble Servant,
Bristol, Oct. 30, 1809.
THE idea of this publication might probably not have been conceived, but for a hint by the reviewer of the late edition of Milton's Prose Works in the Annual. The precise words I can not quote, as I have not the review by me, and as it is long since I read them ; but the idea suggested was, to convert the prose works also of our great poet into a popular classic, by selecting his best pieces, that is, his political writings, and giving extracts from the rest, and to print the whole in a smaller and cheaper form. Finding it adviseable, from indisposition, to retire for a while to the country, and desirous of reading with attention the prose works of Milton, which I had not done before, but in part, I recollected also the hint I have alluded to, and resolved to proceed upon it.
The chief of Milton's prose works may be referred to three general divisions, according as they relate, 1. To Ecclesiastical Law; 2. To Matrimonial Law ; 3. To the Tenure of the
Magistrate. Two short pieces only, in the pre-
The theological pieces, and those on divorce,
In a few instances, I have given an abstract of a page or two, to preserve the connection; and have, now and then, inserted an adverb, or conjunction, to connect passages distant in place. All such abstracts and insertions will be found ena closed in brackets.
On my beginning to arrange these productions