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MANY, EXTRAORDINARY AND HIGHLY INTERESTING EVENTS IN HIS LIFE, FROM THE YEAR 1733 TO 1749,
LONGMAN, REES, ORME, BROWN, AND GREEN,
955 P846 sin
PREFACE BY THE EDITOR.
THE manuscript papers, or rather manuscript books, constituting the Diary from which the following Narrative is taken, were put into my hands by the representative of their much-respected writer, merely as a curious specimen of oldfashioned times, the perusal of which might amuse me. On reading the manuscripts I found not only amusement, which may be called the least worthy effect of any written production, but a deep and affecting interest; - such as a man might feel while listening, at his own comfortable fireside, to the strange adventures and hair-breadth escapes of some dear and long absent friend, just returned to his kinsfolk and neighbours, after a widely wandering and chequered travel in distant lands.
Thus impressed, I ventured to recommend the publication of Sir Edward Seaward's Diary to its
owner. He smiled, and objected, saying, should expect the spirit of the worthy knight would haunt him to his dying day, did he make such an exposition of family history, and of the unpretending abilities, as an author, of the journalist himself, who had evidently penned it for no other eyes than those of his kindred."
But this delicacy was afterwards persuaded to the desired point, by the judgment of a person whom he held in the highest respect, and by the very arguments which my friend had used as objections; namely, the unpretending simplicity of the relation, the family events described in it, as well as those of an extraordinary or more general nature; also its sound and truly British principles, religious and moral. The style is certainly homely, but not that of an ignorant man; the Diary being kept in the common diction of genteel persons in those times, respectably educated, but without aim at the elegance of a man of letters. The manner of the Narrative may sometimes be found a little too particular; yet it is what might be expected in a careful, and therefore minute, record of daily occurrences. That it was begun with no other view than to keep such a table of reference for the writer's own future use, appears from certain internal evidence in the early part of the journal itself; and that it was afterwards completed for a
dearer object, a note, which was annexed to it, most affectingly shows.
I shall here mention, that, besides the regular Diary-books in the possession of my friend, there are many loose papers in the same case with them; by which it appears that Sir Edward Seaward was born in the year 1710 or 1711, and departed this life in the year 1774, at his seat in Gloucestershire. His wife, so affectionately referred to by him throughout, was removed from earth to heaven not long after their last visit to London, in the spring of 1749. And there is a note or memorandum concerning the mournful event, as I mentioned before, appended to the first book of the Diary, of which the following is a copy:
"I feel her loss so deeply, that nothing less than the power of God could support me under my bereavement. But I live in the certain hope of meeting her again, and for ever, in the mansions of the blessed. And I thank her Heavenly Father and mine, that he has put it into my mind to set in order the narrative of my life, to amuse me the while. For, in so doing, I seem to live my days over again with her who was every thing to me on earth. And in this I not only find consolation, but sometimes feel a bright sunshine, like one of her own smiles, warm the sepulchral chamber of my