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"THE BRITTON TESTIMONIAL, 8vo. 1846."
[From the Gentleman's Magazine, June, 1846, by the REV. JOHN MITFORD.]
"This little pamphlet affords an account of a dinner given to Mr. Britton at the Castle Hotel, at Richmond, 7th July, 1845, on the 74th anniversary of his birth-day, together with the toasts and speeches on the occasion, and a list of the subscribers to the testimonial. Nathaniel Gould, Esq., was in the chair, and eighty-two gentlemen were present. As circumstances deprived us of the pleasure of joining that meeting we may be permitted to express in this place our sentiments respecting it.
"To be born to honours is a happy accident; to achieve them is a noble distinction. Mr. Britton's honourable career is all his own; he has gained his station in life by diligent exertion, by the possession of useful and elegant acquirements, by eminence in his own particular line of study, by general intelligence in other branches of science and art, by a love of literature, and by a general and liberal assistance to those employed in pursuits congenial to his own. To his labours the architecture-and particularly the ecclesiastical and domestic architecture-of the country is deeply indebted for the restoration of what was decayed, and the improvement of what was defective; and in his beautiful sketches and masterly engravings, extending through many volumes, he has given us a treasure-house of antiquarian art, and made the pencil and the graver not only preserve and perpetuate much that has long been mouldering into shapeless ruin, but has also supplied many a new model of improved beauty, suggested by his own genius, and carried into execution by his own zeal and perseverance. There are, however, still higher qualities belonging to our nature than those of mere intellectual excellence, and greater endowments than those of scientific acquirement. Mr. Britton is justly endeared to his friends by the virtues of his heart, as well as valued by them for the cultivation of his mind. Whoever is acquainted with him must be pleasingly impressed with the simplicity of his manners, the kindness of his address, and the open, candid, and generous expression of his feelings. The humble writer of these lines has every reason to be proud of the honour conferred by his friendship, as he willingly confesses the advantages he has derived from his knowledge and attainments. Mr. Britton has enjoyed the enviable privilege of friendly and familiar intercourse with some of the most eminent persons of his age; and we can say, that many who, like ourselves, originally came to him for advice and instruction, soon felt anxious to cultivate a more familiar acquaintance, and to make private friendship be the happy result of professional reputation. The names which appear in the List of Subscribers before us afford an ample testimonial of all that we have said. They extend through all classes, from the Prince to the professional artist; and by their extension they stamp a more authentic value on their approbation. Such a band of friends any man may be justly proud of and we trust that in Mr. Britton's mind and feelings the present public evidence of attachment will shed a bright and genial lustre over the shadows of advancing age, as they are slowly and gently closing on a long, an honourable, and a happy life."