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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
The Letter of " A Brolber" has been received, and his request shall be complied
The Lines of “ S. S-M" are unfit for publication. We cannot think what
part of our Publication can have led this Correspondent to suppose that we should insert what a man ought to be ashamed to write, and what a woman dare not read. Wit is ill employed in the cause of obscenity.
To Mr. H. Willet we are obliged for his hint, and thankful for his good opinion.
In compliance with the request of many of our Readers, we shall endeavour in
our next Number to give a List of Lodges for Private Instruction held in or near London and Westminster. The necessary enquiries for this purpose will, as our Friends must be aware, be attended with some trouble, and we shall be thankful to any Brother who by his kind Communications may facilitate our labour.
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GENERAL AND COMPLETE LIBRARY.
FOR JANUARY 1795.
MR. WILLIAM PRESTON, PAST MASTER OF THE LODGE OF ANTIQUITY, No. 1,
[WITH A PORTRAIT.)
HE writer of the following pages has long enjoyed the happi
ness of Mr. Preston's acquaintance, and feels the highest degree of obligation to him for his friendly and useful communications, irom time to time, on Masonic subjects. His known intimacy with that Gentleman pointed him out to the Proprietor of the Freemasons' Magazine, who has at sundry times since the commencement of that Work applied to him to obtain permission from Mr. P. for engraving his Portrait, and publishing some memoirs of him, to gratify the curiosity of numerous enquirers among the patrons of the Magazine. In the humility, however, of Mr. P. he long found an insuperable bar to such a measure : fearful of trusting too much to his recollection of circumstances that have been at times the subject of confidential communication, he often, but in vain, requested some data on which to found an account of his life. At length, overcome by repeated solicitations, the writer has extorted a reluctant consent to his stating such recollections as his memory may supply, to accompany a Portrait engraved from a Painting with which he was lately kindly presented by Mr. Preston, and which is, beyond any doubt, the most accurate likeness that has ever been taken of that Gentleman,
The subject of these memoirs was born at Edinburgh, on the 28th of July, 0. S. 1742, and was the son of William Preston, Esq. Writer to the Signet in that city; a gentleman who had the advantage of a very liberal education, and in time arrived at considerable eminence in his profession. In 1740 Mr. Preston married Helena Cumming, daughter of Mr. Arthur Cumming of Edinburgh, by wiiom he had five children; four of these died in infancy, and William, their second son, alone survived.
His professional talents were great, and his intellectual faculties remarkable ; for the writer of this article has heard the present Mr. Preston more than once relate, that he has known his fat er walk to and fro in his office, and dictate to different clerks at the same time, each of whom was employed on a different subject. As a Greek and Latin scholar, too, he was eminently distinguished, and his poetical talents were highly spoken of in the circle of his private connexions, to which, indeed, they were for the most part confined. A poem, however, To the Divine Majesty, and some other pieces, have appeared in print, and justify the judgment of his friends. To the education of his son Mr. Preston paid peculiar attention, for which purpose he sent him to school at a very early age ; and in order to improve his memory (a faculty which has been of infinite advantage to him through life), he taught the boy, when only in his fourth year, some lines of Anacreou in the original Greek, which, for the entertainment of his friends, he encouraged young William to recite in their presence. The novelty of this performance was suflicientiy pleasing, without requiring that the boy should understand what with wonderful accuracy he uttered.
in 1750, Mr. Preston retired to his house at Linlithgow, 12 miles distant from Edinburgh, and in the following year died suddenly in a fit of apoplexy while on a visit at the house of his friend, the Rev. Mr. Meldrum, of Meldium, near Torphichen, where he was afterwards interied. Though this gentleman had succeeded, by the death of his father and sister, to a considerable landed property in t..e city of Edinburgh, yet, through the mismanagement of his guardians, and his own unfortunate attachment to some friends who had espoused the cause of the Stuart family, after the rebellion in 1745, his business suffered a temporary suspension, which preyed on his spirits, and at once impaired both his health and his fortune.
Mr. William Preston, bis son, to whom our attention will be henceforth directed, having finished his English education under the tui ion of Mr. Stirling, a celebrated teaclier in Edinburgh, and before he was six years of age, was entered at the High School, where, under Messrs. Farquhar, Gibbs, and Lee, he made considerable progress in the Latin tongue. From the High School he went to college, and was taught the rudiments of the Greek under Prosesser Hunter.
While he was at the university, his habits of study, and attention to literature, recommended him to the notice of the late celebrated grammarian, Mr. Thomas Ruddiman, who, from intense applicatiou to classical pursuits, and the infirmities of age, had greatly impaired,