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As my argument will consist of a series of separate inductions, at the same time corroborative and independent of each other, I would ask, in this respect, similar candour and indulgence to that which Dr. Paley has claimed from the readers of his inimitable HORA PAULINE: in his words, I desire, once for all, to intimate," that the instances are independent of one another. I have advanced nothing, which I did not think probable; but the degree of probability, by which different instances are supported, is undoubtedly very different. If the reader, therefore, meets with an instance that appears to him unsatisfactory, or founded in mistake, he will dismiss that instance from the argument, but without prejudice to any other.'
In the early progress of this inquiry, the manuscript was communicated but to two individuals; Your Lordship's brother, the Honourable Mr. Justice Jebb, and him to whom these lines are addressed.
From the judgment of others, I have since derived benefit, which I gratefully feel, and shall not willingly forget. One name, introduced during his life-time, in my first Volume, I may mention; for the friend who bore it, is no more among us. You will anticipate my allusion to the lamented Dr. Alexander Nicoll, formerly Canon of Christ-Church, and Regius Professor of Hebrew, in the University of Oxford. The early loss of that eminent orientalist, irreparable, it may too justly be feared, in his walk of literature, has been felt far beyond the walls of the learned community, which he graced by his extraordinary attainments, and still more by his modest and retiring virtues. His was a genuine love of letters, for their own sake; and in this spirit, he filled his public station to the last; delighting in every opportunity of promoting the interests of literature, within, and without, his appointed sphere. If I failed to profit by his disinterested zeal and kindness, the failure was my own fault. With a melancholy pleasure, I now recall my last visit
to Oxford, in February, 1826; and the generous warmth with which Dr. Nicoll met my confidential intimation, respecting the subject on which I was engaged. To his friendship I am indebted for my knowledge of more than one valuable source of information. And he added the free offer of his services, in making extracts from the oriental books and MSS. in the Bodleian library, to any extent required for my object an instance of literary kindness, of which, indeed, I omitted to avail myself, but which I shall remember and honour while I live.
In thus commemorating a departed friend, let me not forget my debt of gratitude to friendship, which, by the Divine blessing, it is still my privilege to enjoy. Parted from my accustomed channels of research, in the ample resources of Your Lordship's library, I was much aided in the final preparation of these Volumes for the Press, by the kindness of our mutual friend, Sir Robert Harry Inglis, Bart.; who
placed unreservedly at my command, his valuable and various collection on oriental subjects; including, among other rare articles, the Adversaria, and unpublished MSS. of the learned Sale: materials by which I have not failed to profit; especially in the final notes.
May I be permitted, also, to notice the liberality of my respectable publishers; who voluntarily engaged to supply me with all the necessary authorities; and have made their engagement more than good; sparing, for this purpose, neither their trouble, nor their time.
But my last, no less than my earliest, acknowledgments, are due to him, who, “ even from my youth up," has been the chosen guide and guardian of my pursuits and studies. Through every previous stage of the present work, it has been my happiness to find in Your Lordship a safe and wise adviser; and, in passing it through the