Page images
PDF
EPUB

ness and worth wherever they are found. He has sentiments of his own, but he rejoices in the consciousness of a disposition to grant to others a full liberty to avow, defend, and disseminate, their sentiments, though opposite to his own; and can give them the praise due to their abilities and characters.

It is a pleasure to him, that the examination of the writers who have censured Mr. Neal with severity, has eventually established the authenticity of the history, and the candour and impartiality of the author, in all the main parts of bis work. It reflects high and lasting honour on this ecclesiastical history, that if the author were convicted by a Warburton, a Maddox, and a Grey, of partiality, it could be only such à partiality as might arise from a zeal against tyrants and oppressors. The work has, on the whole, a liberal cast; it is on the side of civil and religious liberty; it is in favour of the rights of Englishmen, against unconstitutional prerogative; it is in favour of the rights of conscience, against an imperious and persecuting hierarchy, whether Episcopal or Presbyterian; it is in favour of the great interests of mankind; and, to adopt the words of a most able and liberal writer ;* “A history that is written without any regard to the chief privileges of human nature, and without feelings, especially of the moral kind, must lose a considerable part of its instruction and energy."

* Dr. Kippis : Preface to the first volutne of the second edition of the Biographia Britannica, p. 21.

1

1

DR. TOULMIN'S ADVERTISEMENT

TO

VOL. V. OF THE FORMER EDITION.

This edition of Mr. Neal's “ History of the Puritans," after many interruptions, being at length completed, and the last volume being now presented to the public, the editor embraces this occasion to make his acknowledgments to the gentlemen who have assisted and encouraged his design. He feels his obligations to those who by their names and subscriptions have patronised it; and he is much indebted to some who, by the communication of books and manuscripts, bave aided the execution of it. Situated, as he is, at a great distance from the metropolis, and the libraries there open to the studious, he sees not how he could have enjoyed the means of examining Mr. Neal's authorities, in any extensive degree, and of ascertaining the accuracy of the statements by an inspection of the writers of the last century, had not his grace the duke of Grafton most handsomely offered, and most readily supplied, a great number of books necessary to that purpose, from his large and valuable libraries.

Some books of great authority were obligingly handed to him by Henry Waymouth, esq. of Exeter. His tbank's are also due to the Rev. Josiah Thompson, of Clapham, and to Edmund Calamy, esq. To the former, for the free use of his manuscript collections, relative to the history of the dissenting churches; and to the latter, for the opportunity of perusing a manuscript of his worthy and learned ancestor, Dr. Edmund Calamy, entitled, An Historical Account of my own Life, with some Retlections on the Times I have lived in.” He has been likewise much indebted to a respectable member of the society of Quakers, Mr. Morris Birkbeck, of wan, borough, Surrey, for his judicious remarks on Mr. Neal, and for furnishing him with Gough’s valuable history of that people.

Taunton, August 11th, 1796.

[ocr errors]

ADVERTISEMENT

TO THE

PRESENT EDITION.

In revising Dr. Toulmin's edition of this work for republication, it was found to abound with typographical errors, to a degree almost unprecedented in the present day, owing probably, to the great distance at which he resided from the place where it was printed. These have consequently been corrected'; but both Mr. Neal's text, and the notes of his former edition, remain as in the last edi. tion. Considerable alterations, however, have been made in the disposal of his supplemental matter. Valuable as the doctor's additions to Mr. Neal's History certainly are, every one must have been struck with the extreme awkwardness and injudicious method of arranging his materials ; particularly as it regarded the size of his volumes ; some of which comprised seven or eight huvdred pages, while the fifth contained only half that number. In order to render the volumes, in this new edition, as near as possible, of an equal size, the history of the Baptists and Quakers, which Dr. Toulmin had dealt out by piecemeal, and interspersed throughout the volumes, is now collected into an unbroken narrative, and given as a SUPPLEMENT to vol. V. This, it is presumed, will be generally regarded as a material improvement in various respects, and cannot fail to confer upon the present edition a decided superiority to all that have preceded it. Some important additions have also been introduced into this part of the work, by which, it is hoped, the value of the publication is still farther augmented : and, upon the whole, the work cannot fail in its present state to recomiend itself to every friend of civil and religious liberty 'äs the most valuable history of the kind that is extant in our lan. guage.

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »