SOON after this Memoir was commenced, in the spring of 1861, it became evident that the original plan of publishing a single small volume would serve to present hardly a sketch of Mr. Parker's varied and useful life. At the same time, the biographical material, principally in the form of letters, began to increase in such a way that the plan was insensibly enlarged, and the publication from time to time postponed. These delays fortunately coincided with a season of great dulness in the literary market, when the events of the War were absorbing every mind.
As the mass of letters which existed among Mr. Parker's papers became slowly reduced to a sequence of time and to alphabetical order, so that the subjects discussed and the names and qualities of the writers could be seen, it was plain how much important matter from his own hand remained yet uncollected from every part of the country and from the Old World. This index of correspondence registered, by the surest and most delicate of tests, his diffused and latent life. It was worth while to spend a good many months in obeying such directions --to bid the man rise from beneath these sumptuous epitaphs of love, reverence, and human dependence.
This has been done to the extent which these volumes will show. No friend of Mr. Parker will regret the laborious delay which has recalled so many expressions of his mind upon such varied themes.