In the selection and arrangement of the Correspondence contained in these Volumes, the intrusion of unnecessary commentaries and political opinions has been carefully avoided. The letters themselves are so lucid and complete, that the interest of the publication has been left to rest upon their details as far as possible. But as a collection of communications of this confidential nature, written from day to day upon passing events, must necessarily involve numerous allusions which, intelligible at the time, are either obscure or liable to misapprehension now, occasional notices of the principal topics and circumstances referred to have been introduced wherever they appeared to be required. By the help of this illustrative frame-work a certain degree of continuity has been attempted to be preserved, so that the reader will have no difficulty in blending these materials into the history of the period they embrace.
e favourable to the cultivation of these opportunities. Without being profoundly versed in the philosophy of character, he possessed a remarkable aptitude in the discrimination of persons suited to his purposes. He had considerable skill (to which Lord Shelburne bears special testimony) in extracting the opinions of others, and turning the results to account. If his mind was not vigorous and original, it was active and adaptive, inquisitive and watchful. If his judgment was not always sound, his convictions were strong, and the tenacity of his resolution commanded submission. An accomplished linguist, fond of business, and having some talents as a writer, which enabled him to express his meaning with facility and clearness, he was well qualified to avail himself of the political accidents which contributed to revive and strengthen the royal prerogative.
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