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BY RICHARD HURD, D. D.
LORD BISHOP OF WORCISTER.
WITH LARGE ADDITIONS, CHIEFLY UNPUBLISHED,
IN SIX VOLUMES.
LONDON: GEORGE BELL AND SONS, YORK STREET,
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS,,LIMITED, STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
BISHOP Hurd's edition of Addison, which has always ranked as the best, having become a scarce and expensive book, the publisher considered he should render an acceptable service to his subscribers by reproducing it in a popular form. He accordingly undertook a verbatim reprint of it in four volumes. But, after having made considerable progress, he found accidentally that so large a number of Addison's letters remained unpublished, that it seemed desirable to extend his original plan, for the purpose of including them. Bishop Hurd had not given any of Addison's letters, evidently not aware that any of an authentic character existed; neither had his precursor, Tickell, upon whom the duty, as Addison's literary executor, devolved, and who appears to have been in possession of original drafts, which could have been placed in his hands for no other purpose. Miss Aikin, in her Memoir, had so far remedied this omission, from materials which had come into the possession of a descendant of Mr. Tickell, and from other sources, that any further publication or research had at first seemed supererogatory; but the discovery of some unpublished papers which, though they lay in her path, had escaped her, followed up by inquiry and research, led to a very different conclusion. The publisher therefore set himself energetically to work,
and, by the help of literary friends and his own appliances, has succeeded in obtaining such an amount of unpublished letters (including the originals of some of those hitherto printed from drafts) as must surprise the literary public; especially when it is borne in mind that most of them have been lying dormant, in accessible places, for considerably more than a century.
His success in bringing to light so many letters led him to examine whether all the known works of Addison had been included in the collected editions, and he then found that many interesting and well-authenticated pieces had uniformly been omitted. The necessity of including these led to a still further extension of his plan; and instead of four, as was first intended, then five, his edition of the Works now forms six volumes.
All that has been published heretofore as Addison's in Hurd's edition of his Works, which is the most complete, is comprised in the first four volumes of the present and the early pages of the fifth. The remainder, nearly one-third of the whole, is additional, for the most part transcribed from manuscripts in public depositories and private collections, or gleaned from rare or ephemeral volumes. Of the numerous manuscripts now first published nearly all are either holograph or autograph; and nothing has been admitted without sufficient evidence of its authenticity.
There are in all nearly 250 letters, of which only those marked in the List of Contents with an asterisk have been published by Miss Aikin. Besides these the publisher has since met with many more, all however so drily official, like those enumerated at p. 527-8, that he has not thought them worth printing; but, as the dates may be convenient, an analysis of them is given on a starred page, to follow 528.
Among so many remarkable letters and papers, it is diffi cult to point out the most interesting, but the following seem