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THE FIRST EDITION.
To WRITE a life of FARADAY seemed to me at first a hopeless work. Although I had listened to him as a lecturer for thirty years and had been with him frequently for upwards of twenty years, and although for more than fifteen years he had known me as one of his most intimate friends, yet my knowledge of him made me feel that he was too good a man for me to estimate rightly, and that he was too great a philosopher for me to understand thoroughly. I thought that his biographer should if possible be one who was his own mental counterpart. I afterwards hoped that the Journals, which he wrote at different periods whilst abroad, might have been published separately. If this had been done, then some portions of his biography would have been in his own writing: but it was thought undesirable to divide the records of the different parts of his life. As time went on, and those who were most interested in the work found no one with sufficient leisure to whom they were inclined to give his manuscripts, I at last made the attempt to join together his own words, and to form them into a picture of his life which may almost be looked upon as an autobiography. My first work was to read his manuscripts; and then to collect from his friends all the letters and notes that were likely to be of interest. And here, in duty bound, I must first thank Mrs. Faraday and her nieces Miss Barnard and Miss Reid for their help; then his earliest friend Mr. Abbott, whose collection of letters was priceless; then his friends M. Auguste de la Rive and the late Professor Schönbein. I am also indebted to Madame Matteucci, Miss Moore, Miss Magrath, Miss Phillips, Dr. Tyndall, Dr. Percy, Col. Yorke, the late Rev. John Barlow, and to many others. From his letters, his laboratory note-books, his lecture-books, his Trinity House and other manuscripts, I have arranged the materials for a memorial of Faraday in the simplest order, with the least connecting matter. I have, however, with permission, used some of the admirable summaries published by Dr. Tyndall, in his account of ‘Faraday as a Discoverer.'