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this enlarged and corrected Edition of
the History of the West Indies, it was the intention of the Author to prefix a Preface, touching every source of additional intelligence, every rectification of error, and the general completion of his views, in furnishing every document of commerce, of policy, and of natural history, as connected with the countries and the people he describes. He had carefully revised and corrected the text of his book, preparatory to such essay, developing the scheme of its construction, and the philosophy of its contents. But death interrupted the design ;-and ere the last sheet was revised from the press—Bryan EdWARDS was no more! He had long suffered from the disorder which brought him to the
By Sir William Young, Bart.
grave, and seemed to foresee the hour of dissolution hastening on; as the Sketch of his Life, written by himself, clearly denotes. Rendered incapable, by weakness and disease, of completing his greater design of a Prefatory Discourse; yet, with a fond anxiety for honest fame, he roused the embers of his genius,—to claim a fair reputation with posterity for industry, integrity, and candid exposition of the talents and acquirements which introduced him to public notice. The firmness of his mind, and the cheerfulness of his temper, which throughout a long and checquered life, gave confidence to his friendships, and delight in his society, forsook him not, as he apprehended its last short hour before him: this he clearly shews, when turning from the awful consideration of futurity to look back on his past life, himself brings the retrospect to our view, and describes the scene in so pure and lively colours, with no gloom from discontent, and no shade from remorse, that we readily infer the nature of the light which so beamed on this his last work, and to his last hour ;--and pronounce its emanation to be from the pure conscience of a benevolent and upright man. Under such impression, the cditor has peculiar satisfaction in fulfilling the injunction of his departed friend,
and prefixing to this edition “ THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR, WRITTEN BY HIMSELF." The time at which it was composed, and the composition itself, impress the editor with every feeling of dear regard and of duty; and, (as a part of that duty), with the propriety of submitting some further remark on this last literary effort of his excellent friend. Those who knew and were intimate with Mr. BRYAN EDWARDS, will recognize in this short account of himself, the energy of mind, the industry, and the truth, which characterized his conversations and his life; but all must allow, and some must object, that much therein is omitted, which has usual and
proper place in biography, and which the editor might be presumed, or be called upon, to supply. Some account might be required, of his literary essays, and legislative acts, so efficient in the cause of humanity towards the negroes, whilst a member of the assembly in Jamaica :—Some account might be demanded, of this good and independent man, whilst a member of the British
par. liament; and, especially in the posthumous life of a literary man, some accurate detail of his literary pursuits and writings might be expected.-Of BRYAN EDWADS,--of his correspondence,-
of his essays, and of his conduct in the judicious compilation and elegant recital of the Travels of Mungo Park,—and specially, of the origin and progress of the great work herewith submitted to the public—to these, and other points, the recollection of the reader is thus awakened. The editor presumes no further. He cannot venture to alter, or add to, the sacred deposite committed to his charge,-and now gives it to the public, as.its author left, and willed it, to be given.