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be clear, I think, from those parts of the introduction which relate to the manuscripts and to the manner in which they have been edited in the past.

In preparing the book, the editor has not hesitated to ask assistance of several friends. They will not think mention of their names necessary, perhaps, and the omission will relieve them from any responsibility for errors made in following their suggestions, or otherwise. I desire, however, to make public, as I have made private recognition of their helpfulness. Special thanks of a more public character are due and gladly tendered to Mr. John Murray of London, editor and publisher of The Autobiographies of Edward Gibbon, for gracious permission to use such parts of the recently reprinted manuscripts as had not been published before. To him every reader as well as every editor of Gibbon's Memoirs will long be grateful.

CLEVELAND, September 24, 1898.

O. F. E.



GIBBON'S Memoirs have received the unanimous praise
of critics and have interested and inspired countless
readers in the century since they were first published.'
Yet Gibbon's autobiography is not like many of its class.
Instead of being filled with anecdotes of others, with his-
tory of the times in which he lived, with descriptions of
places and characters of persons, it keeps remarkably close
to the uneventful life of a scholar and man of letters.
Living in a momentous period for both Europe and
America, he gives only a glance here and there at the
memorable events happening in the outside world. The
struggle with George III for constitutionalism in England,
the conflict between England and France in India and
America, the American revolt from the mother country,
the French Revolution and the tottering of continental
thrones, scarcely receive a passing notice from the scholar
whose eyes remained riveted upon the revolutions in the
ancient Roman world. Nor can we suppose Gibbon
intended anything else. Even if he had completed the
Memoirs to his satisfaction, there is good reason to believe
he would have made them little different. At one time he

1 Miscellaneous Works of Edward Gibbon, Esq., with Memoirs of his
Life and Writings, Composed by Himself, Illustrated from his Letters,
with Occasional Notes and Narrative, by John Lord Sheffield. London,

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expressed his purpose in the words, "I now propose to employ some moments of my leisure in reviewing the simple transactions of a private and literary life."1 At another he says,

"It would most assuredly be in my power to amuse the reader with a gallery of portraits and a collection of anecdotes; but I have always condemned the practice of transforming a private memorial into a vehicle of satire or praise."

11 2

Such a close record of a literary career has seldom been written. Most autobiographies are the accounts of lives passed in public activities. Even Gibbon might have given us many a view of public life in the eighteenth century, for he was not only a member of parliament, but was also known in the best literary and social circles of London. He was a member of the Literary Club with Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, Garrick, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the others. After Goldsmith's death in 1774, Gibbon was Sir Joshua's regular attendant to the theater, masquerades, and social events. He was also a member of Brooks's, Boodle's, White's, and Almack's Clubs, which were frequented by statesmen and gentlemen of leisure. He was entertained at the best houses in London, and could gossip in his letters of all that was happening from the court to the last masquerade, and from parliament to Grub Street. All this, too, would have been intensely interesting, but to Gibbon it was not of great importance, compared with the aim he had in mind. He proposed from the first to limit himself to a record of his mind and intellectual conquests.

But if the limitation which Gibbon put upon himself has made the Memoirs less extensive, it has correspondingly increased their intensity in the more circumscribed field. 2 See note to 164, II.

1 See p. li.

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