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THE leading object contemplated in this Work, has been to present, within a moderate compass, an accurate and comprehensive estimate of the career and genius of Hugh Miller. In the columns of the Witness, and other sources, the author has sought the materials out of which he has endeavoured to group, in natural sequence, whatever is really important to the comprehension of the relations of Hugh Miller to our times, and of the great services rendered by him to the literature and religious freedom of Scotland.
Conscious of no personal antipathies, he has surveyed “The Ten Years' Conflict” with an independent, yet not, he hopes, unsympathetic spirit. The relations of the conflict to the earlier ecclesiastical history of Scotland, have been exhibited with as much fullness of detail as the limits of the Work permitted.
The author makes no pretensions to unveil the purely personal or domestic life of Hugh Miller. His Work is based upon public documents, not private correspondence. For all literary purposes, Hugh Miller's correspondence belongs, if not legally, at least by courtesy, to his relatives. So fully did the author feel this, that although a not unimportant section of that correspondence was placed at his disposal, he refrained from availing himself of any portion of its information. The scheme of his Work did not require, nor would his feelings permit him, to trench upon ground sacred to the family of the illustrious dead.
Works, in many respects admirable, have treated at length the history of the Disruption, and yet managed to miss the stalwart figure of the editor of the Witness among its heroes. Should this humble effort serve in any manner to supplement unaccountable shortsightedness, the author will deem his toil amply rewarded.
Kinning Park, Glasgow. 10th March, 1858