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TO THE READER.
If an Antiquary, it is presumed that the following Pages may possess sufficient interest to arrest your attention ;—if a Relative or Connexion of Archbishop Wake, or a Father who has lost an only Son, some idea may be formed of the painful feeling with which the Manuscript was thrown aside on the death of his beloved Child. It was found among the Archbishop's Papers after
his decease in his own hand writing, and
->< given by his Executors to his-eWest Daughter
Mrs. Lynch; others of the family of course had Copies. That to which I had access was transcribed from the Original, of which I have given a literal Copy. A Memoir of the Family of so eminent a Man must always be interesting, therefore no apology can be necessary from his great Gran daughter for giving it to the Public.
TO MY SON.1
Th6 to value a Mans self upon the Honour, or Antiquity, of his Family, and glory in those things, which are owing to his Fortune, not his Desert, be a ffolly justly to be derided by all wise Men: yet I cannot but think it a pardonable Curiosity for any One, to desire to know from Whome he is descended, and what Figure his Ancestors, in their several Ages, are reported to have made in the World. There is something in the History of great Men, that is not only very entertaining, but instructive too: It gives us the truest Notion of human Nature: and shews us better than all the Rules in the World, what is Worthy and Becoming: And how it will behove Us to conduct ourselves, if ever we mean to be either justly Esteemed, whilst we live, or to be Honoured by posterity, after we are dead.
1 This Son died an Infant about four years old. E. B.
Nor is this all the Benefit which such a prospect may be apt to bring to us. Examples are not only very instructive, but operative, and encouraging. They excite a Man to Do what is generous and worthy, as well as shew him what he ought to account so. They raise a secret Emulation in his Breast, and prick him on to a desire of Rivalling those whose Actions he reads of, and whose Virtues he admires.
And as this is wont to be the Effect of such Enquirys to all Men whose Souls are not utterly sunk down into, and overwhelm'd with Matter; So of all kind of History, I know none so apt to inspire into a Mans Mind a Desire of doing well, as that which relates to his own Family, When a Man looks back upon the Fortunes of his Country, and sees what glorious Things his Ancestors have done for it; How far they have ventured, and how much they have suffered, for the Sake of it; And what Honour they have gained by their so doing; If any thing can stir up such a One to act worthily, here certainly is that, which of all things, will be most likely so to do: And we may conclude that Man to be past all Sense of Honour, all Impressions of Virtue, who is not to be wrought upon, by such Motives to do well.
It is upon this Account especially, that as I look upon it as no small Happiness for any one to be descended of a brave and worthy Stock; So would I have those that are so, to be well acquainted with the Characters of their Ancestors, and to be early instructed in the History of their Lives and Actions. This would possess them from the beginning with generous Thoughts, and good Inclinations; would breed them up with an Opinion that they ought, and an Endeavour, that they may be able to keep up the Honour of their Name: and make every latter Descendant of a noble House, ambitious, if it may be, to surpass whatever had been done by any of their Race before Them.
I will not deny but that there was somewhat of this Hope, as well as a natural Curiosity of searching as far as I had Opportunity, into the Antiquitie of my Family, that first induced me to put together that short Account, I am no w about