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TO JOHN EARL OF ELDON,
LORD HIGH CHANCELLOR OF GREAT BRITAIN.
COULD law regulate the aberrations of intellect, and compel the melancholy to exertion-could power reach the human mind, stay the incipient encroachments of delusion, and arrest lunacy in its progress -could the enactments of the one and the inflictions of the other deter from crime in general-and from suicide, the worst of all
-there would have been no necessity for the following pages; your Lordship would officially have performed the task which your benevolence is ever ready to attempt, and in you the dejected and the lunatic would have found not only a guardian, but a physician.
But to cure the distempers of the mind, and to remove the hypochondriacal depressions to which our constitution is subject from a thousand causes, requires the gentle suggestions of a friend, and the ratiocinations of prudence and experience. What the law, therefore, with all its wisdom, cannot effect, is humbly attempted in this work by methods which observation, history, natural reason, and religion, prescribe.
Allow me, therefore, with due deference, to dedicate this work of philanthropy to
your Lordship, as a Nobleman whose wellknown character stands high in the estimation of those whose hearts feel for the unavoidable calamities of their fellow-men; but more particularly as the guardian of those who have lost their own powers of management.
Happy shall I feel myself if any of my observations shall approve themselves to your Lordship's discerning judgment, and if this humble effort of my pen should confirm that good opinion of my wish to be in some degree useful to the community, in Church and State, which your Lordship was led to entertain, when you lately preferred me to the important charge which I have now the honour to superintend. That I may approve myself the advocate of Christian truth, the friend of pure morality and social order, and the promoter of peace and harmony-and