Page:The Chartist Movement.djvu/16

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

He also drew up the basis of the bibliography. Mr. West informs me that his study and Hovell's have some points of almost complete agreement, notably where both differ from recent German writings. It is hardly needful to say that Mr. West had come to his conclusions before this book had been put in his hands.

The final preparation for publication I undertook myself. I had discussed the progress of the book so often with Hovell that I pretty well knew the lines on which he was working. He was one of the most scholarly and systematic note-makers that I have ever known, and the numerous note-books and his great store of carefully prepared and neatly tabulated slips afforded copious material for carrying to the end the task of revision. With their aid I have revised the whole book with some care. There was little to do with the earlier part save to add a few notes from the manuscript material, and carry still further the process which Mr. West had begun. My difficulties were greater with the concluding chapters, which were put together, I suspect, under the adverse conditions of active preparation for military service, and therefore became increasingly incomplete until their abrupt conclusion in May 1842. Here more revision, amplification, and correction were necessary, but even here I felt it my duty to treat with the utmost respect all that Hovell had written. If I have erred, it is in the direction of leaving things as I found them. I must, however, emphasise the fact that what Hovell left behind him was a rough draft, not a book ready for the press. He had not completed even the digestion of his material. Much less had he given it the literary form which would have satisfied his critical spirit. Accordingly, what is here published is not what the author meant to see the light. Had he lived, it would have been much more definitive in its scholarship and much more polished in its style. I hope, however, that it will be recognised that the work was too good to put aside, and that it may be received by readers not only as a memorial of a brilliant career prematurely ended, but as a serious contribution to the literature of a great subject.