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of their situations means of information open to few others. That their observations on this history are now at length submitted to the public eye, is owing to the following fortunate incident.
I. A resolution having been taken by the delegates of the Clarendon press to reprint the work, the present lord bishop of Oxford expressed his readiness to communicate to them a copy of it, in which his lordship had transcribed the marginal notes written by his ancestor the first earl of Dartmouth. The offer was gratefully accepted, and the notes ordered to be printed with the text.
Soon after, on an application to the earl of Onslow, made through the late James Boswell, esquire, of the Inner Temple, his lordship was pleased to confide to the delegates speaker Onslow's copy of Burnet's history; in which are contained the speaker's observations on this work, written in his own hand. Besides these remarks, there appear in the
in consequence of the permission of the second earl of Hardwicke, not only. this nobleman's notes on the second folio volume, but also the numerous passages, which were omitted in the first volume by the original editors. The notes likewise of dean Swift are there transcribed, taken from his
own copy of the history, which had come into the possession of the first marquis of Lansdowne, and afterwards into that of Henry James Brooke, esquire, F.R.S. It has since perished by fire. We shall now lay before the reader, for his greater satisfaction, a note prefixed to the Onslow copy by George late earl of Onslow, the son of the speaker.
6. The notes in these two volumes marked “ H. were the notes in the present earl of “ Hardwicke's copy of this work written by
himself, and which he permitted me to copy
into this. The earl is the son and “ heir of that great man the chancellor. The “ others in the same hand-writing I had also “ from him, and they are what are left “ out in the printed history, but are in the
manuscript. All the rest of the notes are
my father's own. Geo. Onslow, 1775. There “ are many errors of the copyist. The notes “ in red ink are by dean Swift, and are
copied (from an edition of this work in “ the marquiss of Lansdown’s library, in the
margin of which they are written in the “ dean's own hand) by his lordship’s order “ for myself. O. 1788."
With respect to the notes written by the earl of Dartmouth, it appears from sir John Dalrymple's Memoirs of Great Britain and
Ireland, and from Mr. Rose's Observations on Fox's History of the early part of the reign of James II, that both these writers had been favoured with the sight as well of these notes, as of a collection of letters sent by king James, when duke of York, and residing in Scotland, to the first lord Dartmouth, the earl's father, and from which extracts are frequently made by the earl in his notes. Seven or eight only of the notes have been communicated to the public by the abovementioned authors, and are pointed out as they occur in the following pages. All of them are now printed, with the exception of three, which contained reflections on the private character of as many individuals irrelevant to their public conduct. They have been omitted, with the approbation of the descendants of the noble writer.
As the earl of Dartmouth often treats bis author with great severity, it should be remembered, that he was of a party in the state opposed to that which bishop Burnet uniformly espoused. He
also to bave entertained a great personal dislike to the bishop. At the same time this nobleman, who was secretary of state, and afterwards lord privy seal in the latter end of queen Anne's reign, never embraced, as may
be collected from his notes, the absurd doctrine of non-resistance to government in all supposable cases; but was, what some have called, a moderate tory; and like most of the leading tories in the reign of the queen, was attached to the Hanover succession. The wiser members of this party held, that the right of the people to govern depends on the different laws and constitutions of different countries; but that their right to be well governed is indefesible. The following character of his lordship has been transmitted to us by Swift, whilst eulogizing the chiefs of
queen Anne's last ministry, in the twenty-sixth number of the Examiner. “My lord Dartmouth,” he says, “is a man of letters, full of good
sense, good nature, and honour, of strict “ virtue and regularity in his life; but labours “ under one great defect, that he treats his “ clerks with more civility and good man“ ners, than others in his station have done “ the queen.” See also Macky's Characters,
His lordship’s notes on this work of Burnet abound in curious and well told anecdotes.
The observations of speaker Onslow and the earl of Hardwicke have likewise been hitherto unpublished, except twenty of the former, printed in the twenty-seventh volume of
the European Magazine. But more than half of Swift's short and cursory remarks have been already given to the public in that and the two following volumes of the same work, by the person who communicated the others, yet often altered in the expression. They are shrewd, caustic, and apposite, but not written with the requisite decorum; indeed, three of them are worded in so light a way, that even modesty forbad their admission. The speaker's notes, addressed more particularly to his son, contain many incidental discussions on political subjects, and are sensible and instructive. Those of the earl of Hardwicke are so candid and judicious, that one cannot but wish them to have been more numerous. Lord Spencer, we are eager to acknowledge, condescendingly and most obligingly endeavoured to procure the copy
of Burnet's history for our use, in the margin of which the notes were originally written by lord Hardwicke, it being desirable that some doubtful passages of the transcript in the Onslow copy should have been compared with it; but unfortunately the book could not be found.
The earl of Dartmouth and dean Swift, although both of them much younger than bishop Burnet, may be considered as his contemporaries; and were, as has been already ob