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N the home of my childhood there hung an engraving of John Howard, visiting a prison cell and relieving the miserable inmates. Underneath were Burke's memorable words, "This Gentleman has visited all Europe, not to survey the sumptuousness of palaces or the stateliness of temples, but to dive into the depths of dungeons, to plunge into the infection of hospitals, to take the gauge and dimensions of misery, to remember the forgotten, to attend to the neglected." The picture and the words made an indelible impression on my mind, and the sight of them recently, after the lapse of more than sixty years, renewed it in all its vividness. Howard was chief amongst the heroes of my boyhood. I never cared for warriors or sages as I did for him; and stories of his prison visits were to me a great delight.
About thirty years since I was requested by my friend, the late Rev. William Alliott, of Bedford, to prepare a memorial of the philanthropist, to be delivered at an anniversary of Howard Chapel. Relics were shown and traditions were related on the occasion. They revived the image of my early favourite,
and led to a new examination of his works and of his ways. It struck me, that though eulogies in abund-· ance had been pronounced on his achievements, full justice had not been done to his religious peculiarities, his ecclesiastical relations, and certain aspects of his personal character. A few years ago, when released from pastoral engagements, I resumed these studies, arranging illustrations I had gathered and recording conclusions I had reached. The MS. was laid aside for reasons I need not relate; but during the past year my publishers urged me to resume the task, as former Lives of Howard were most of them out of print and failed to meet the increasing taste for biographical literature.
What I have written is based upon an examination of original authorities, including Howard's own works, which are really biographical; a view of his "Character and Public Services," published by Dr. Aiken; and Funeral Sermons preached by ministers who were his personal friends. In periodical literature soon after his death, and in the industrious collection of what could be gathered respecting him at the time by Dr. James Baldwin Brown, in Memoirs originally published in 1818, may be found all the leading facts of the philanthropist's history; but an important addition to the number of his letters was made by the Rev. J. Field, in a small book entitled "Correspondence of Howard, 1855," now out of print and difficult to be obtained.
Popular Lives of varied merit have been written by Dixon, Field, and Taylor; and views of Howard's services are furnished by Mr. Bellows and Dr. Guy.
Howard's friends and followers deserve to have their names associated with his, and therefore brief notices respecting them are incorporated in this volume. His friends, for the most part, are little known; but I have had the good fortune to gain information respecting those of them who were ministers of religion, from a large collection of Funeral Sermons in the library of New College. Of Mr. Whitbread, Howard's great friend, I have learned much from Lady Isabella Whitbread, who most kindly placed before me at Southill, family documents, throwing light on his beautiful character and also upon matters relating to Howard himself and his unhappy son.
For much interesting information relative to Howard's connection with Bedford, I am indebted to the late Rev. W. Alliott, and also to the Rev. John Brown, the present minister of Bunyan Meeting in that town.
My descriptions of Howard's homes and haunts are derived from visits to them at different periods; and my best thanks are due to General Mills and Miss Whitbread for their courteous assistance when I was last at Cardington. From descendants of Mr. Prole, Howard's servant, I learned much when rambling about the neighbourhood in 1852.
I make no apology for connecting personal remi
niscences of foreign travel with the records of Howard's journeys; as, with the exception of Northern Europe, almost all the places referred to in his books and letters it has been my privilege to visit-several of them repeatedly.
VIII. PRISON RESEARCHES AT HOME