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well to recollect, that Mr. Cornelius passed nearly the whole of his life in the performance of public duties of various and exhausting description, and that consequently he had little time for social, literary, or religious correspondence, except so far as the indispensable calls of duty required.
The compiler would have preferred, on several accounts, to have confined his attention entirely to the editing and arranging of the manuscripts, which were placed in his possession, occasionally adding an explanatory or connecting paragraph. Those biographies are the most instructive, in which the subject is allowed to give his own narrative, and develope his own sentiments, in such words as pleased himself. In the present case, some deviation from this rule was thought to be desirable, as the private journals of Mr. Cornelius were not accessible, and nothing in the shape of an autobiography was in existence. The remarks which are made upon his character as a pastor, preacher, and public agent, are offered with unfeigned diffidence.
The few brief extracts which are given from the reports of the Education Society, are favorable specimens of his style of writing, and they will serve to
give a connected, though condensed view of the history of the institution. Those persons, who are familiar with this history, will please to remember, that there is a large and increasing class of youthful readers, to whom its statements will be new. For the same reason, explanatory notes are occasionally added.
It will be observed that the title of doctor in divinity, which was conferred on him, in 1829, by one of our most respectable colleges, is not retained in the memoir. It has been omitted in consequence of views repeatedly expressed by him on the subject, especially in his last illness. He did not decline the honor from any disrespect to its source, or from any wish to condemn others, who may judge differently, but from a belief that its assumption is not altogether in accordance with the spirit of the gospel.
The likeness prefixed to the volume is not considered a good one in all respects. It was engraved from a painting of Mr. Cornelius, which fails to give an accurate representation of his features. He sat for the picture at a time when he was recovering from illness. The execution, both of the painting and engraving, is fine, and in some respects is strikingly conformed to the original; but in others, it essentially fails.
A number of words and phrases in the volume, which are not pure English, or against which some objection lies, are printed in italic characters. It is difficult to describe some subjects, introduced into this memoir, in phraseology which is entirely correct.
Boston, December, 1833.