The Private Memoirs of Sir Kenelm Digby, by Kenelm Digby

Preface.

There is a charm in Autobiography under whatever form it may be presented to our notice, which is too universally felt to require recommendation; hence, an apology for publishing for the first time, from his own MS., an account of the early part of the life of one of the most extraordinary characters of his, or indeed of any age, would it is presumed be wholly superfluous.

The name of Sir Kenelm Digby is almost synonymous with genius and eccentricity; and his marriage with the beautiful Venetia Stanley, a lady of far purer birth than fame, has tended to create a lively interest in all which relates to him. Under feigned appellations, but to the greater proportion of which there is no difficulty in giving a key, Digby has detailed all the events of his life, from his childhood until his victory over the Venetian squadron at Scanderoon in June 1628; and as the narrative was solely written from feelings of affection for his wife, that celebrated woman is the heroine of his tale.

That so curious an article should have hitherto escaped the attention of his Biographers, is not a little singular; but it will be seen by the Memoir which it was necessary to prefix to it, that it throws important light, not only upon Digby s own character, but also upon the character and conduct of Lady Venetia; and many curious particulars will also be found of the most distinguished personages of their times.

As in the introductory account of Sir Kenelm Digby, the question of the authenticity of the MS., which is preserved in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum, No. 6768, is discussed, and every particular concerning it stated, any farther observations in this place are unnecessary.

June 1st, 1827.

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