These letters were returned to me, shortly after the death of the friend to whom they were written, by his widow. It seems that he had been sorting and destroying letters and papers a few days before his wholly unexpected end. "We won't destroy these," he had said to her, holding the bulky packet of my letters in his hand; "we will keep them together. T---- ought to publish them, and, some day, I hope he will." This was not, of course, a deliberate judgement; but his sudden death, a few days later, gives the unconsidered wish a certain sanctity, and I have determined to obey it. Moreover, she who has the best right to decide, desires it. A few merely personal matters and casual details have been omitted; but the main substance is there, and the letters are just as they were written.
. But the spectacle of the man's patient energy and divine courage is one that goes straight to the heart. It is then that one realises that the earlier and more prosperous life has all the value of contrast; one recognises that here was a truly unspoilt nature; and that, if we can dare to look upon life as an educative process, the tragic sorrows that overwhelmed him were not the mere reversal of the wheel of fortune, but gifts from the very hand of the Father--to purify a noble soul from the dross that was mingled with it; to give a great man the opportunity of living in a way that should furnish an eternal and imperishable example.
I do not believe that in the whole of literature there is a more noble and beautiful document of its kind than the diary of these later years. The simplicity, the sincerity of the man stand out on every page. There are no illusions about himself or his work. He hears that Southey has been speaking of him and his misfortunes with tears, and he says plainly that such tears