The four following essays were published eighteen months ago in the 'Cornhill Magazine,' and were reprobated in a violent manner, as far as I could hear, by most of the readers they met with.
Not a whit the less, I believe them to be the best, that is to say, the truest, rightest- worded, and most serviceable things I have ever written; and the last of them, having had especial pains spent on it, is probably the best I shall ever write.
"This," the reader may reply, "it might be, yet not therefore well written." Which, in no mock humility, admitting, I yet rest . . .
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