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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
William Roscoe to Archibald Constable, [24 July 1818]

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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“At an earlier period of life, and under circumstances of greater leisure, there are few works which I should have undertaken with more willingness than a history of the state of Europe, and of the causes and effects of the revolution in France. Of these astonishing events, I have been an anxious though remote observer; and am of opinion, that if they were properly narrated, combined, and commented upon, they

* This anthem was, with much taste and feeling, set to music by Mr. Webbe.

would afford lessons of greater interest and importance to the world, than any subject that has ever employed the pen of the historian. I cannot, however, but be sensible, that the utility and success of such a work must depend entirely on the ability brought to the undertaking; and although in the warmth of youth I might have overlooked this consideration, it appears at present with too formidable an aspect to allow me to contemplate a work of such magnitude and difficulty without shrinking from the task. I confess it is not without reluctance that I decline the proposition adverted to in your letter, and resign the work into other hands. At the same time, if, upon further deliberation, I should think there was a possibility of confining it within a moderate compass, so as to bring it within the limits of my powers, and allow myself a reasonable expectation of accomplishing it, I may, perhaps, reconsider my present determination; but unless you hear from me again within a very few weeks, you will be pleased to consider that determination as decisive.”