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a good deal, before his death; two or three had been read publicly in the University society of which he was President; some are the written perorations, or notes, of speeches; and some are but sketches and fragments thrown off as the mood prompted, never shown to any of his friends, and now culled from his note-books for the first time.
The paper on Essayists and Essay Writing constitutes the main portion of an Address delivered by the Author as President of the Philosophical Society of Dublin University, in November, 1864. Those who are acquainted with the Address in its original pamphlet-form, will miss here its few opening pages. I have thought, that as these had an interest purely local and occasional, and were in no way connected with the cardinal subject, the essay would perhaps appeal to a wider audience if they were omitted in this place; and on this consideration I have discarded them, even at the risk of robbing the Address of considerable eloquence and point. One or two sketches—such as that headed A Prophecy—though trifles in themselves, long forgotten by the Author, I have deemed it needful to preserve, as illustrating certain portions of the Memoirs, and elucidating certain references in the extracts from his Diaries therein contained. The essay on Shelley, written for the most part when the Author was about nineteen years of age, has a very intimate association with important passages of
his life; but it appears here, unavoidably, in fragments, and not exactly in the form in which it was publicly read. The last three sketches in the volume, which are written portions of orations, while they serve to exemplify his powers of rhetoric, will, at the same time, read as distinct little essays on themes of abiding interest.
G. F. ARMSTRONG.
See “Life and Letters of Edmund J. Armstrong,” pp. 453-4.