MY interest in the early life of John Howard Payne dates from the day when chance threw into my possession a volume of letters concerning which Payne wrote as follows:--
LONDON, August 20, 1819.
I have determined this day to begin and transcribe in as regular succession as possible all the copies of letters now in my possession, although there are many which can serve no purpose but that of recalling the recollection of events by which they were produced.
While several of the volumes containing his letters after 1819 have for some time been known, the first and most important seems to have escaped even the most energetic of Payne's biographers. Transcribed with the greatest amount of care and neatness, these early letters form a volume which is truly unique. It is Payne's own story of his life, his struggles, his thoughts and his ambitions during that period of which heretofore so much has been guessed at, and so little known.
WILLIS T. HANSON, JR.