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The first of these sketches was written for a periodical at the suggestion of a friend. Two others were added at the request of friends, on whose judgment I relied. It is in deference to their opinions that I publish these sketches, with the addition of some others not yet printed.
The lives selected for notice, it will be observed, are those of Dissenters; though all of them exercised a lasting influence on the fortunes of the Church of England. In selecting these lives as subjects, that consideration weighed much with me; but there was another.
The biographies of the most eminent men of our Church have, for the most part, been written by persons whose style is singularly attractive, and whose works, from their excellence and reputation, forbid either alteration or abridgment. It was necessary to turn to biographies less known, which are often buried under materials that enrich but overwhelm them.