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London, 1st of September, 1851. MY DEAR LEE, Few people will be more surprised than yourself, on opening these pages, at the miscellany here compounded. It is true you were informed that my object was to indite an account of the Hartwell Observatory; but it became impossible to draw that up without vivid recollections of a mansion in which the writer has passed so many—and he hopes useful-hours, and of an estate to which he has been so many years a trustee, under Act of Parliament. For obvious reasons this intention was not revealed to you; but the tenor of my inquiries, with the rummaging of old musty deeds, and the ransacking of all sorts of papers, might have betrayed that a favourite object was under treatment. Through all, the voluntary task is now worked out, and I submit the result to your judgment.
You will find, it is trusted, though your documents have been pretty freely acted with, that I have strictly steered the course which lies between public or general interest and personal confidence; and that in no instance has the line of propriety been violated, or even strained beyond a proper latitude.
With the exception of your own two lithographs of Egyptian stelæ, the plates of this work are engraven from drawings expressly made by members of my family; who, having all, at various times, enjoyed the hospitalities of Hartwell House, were much interested in my undertaking. Thus the nightscene in the Transit-room, the appearance of Encke's comet, the colossal statues of Bubastis, and the Egyptian pronaos, are by my second son, Charles Piazzi, the Astronomer-Royal for Scotland: the reduction of the mansion and grounds from an old painting, the Equatorial-room, the Oxford Heliometer, and several of the smaller embellishments, are by Mrs. Smyth : the morning and evening views of the house are from the pencil of my youngest son, Henry Augustus, now a Captain in the Royal Artillery : the ancient north front of the house, the Muniment-room, Pompey's Pillar, and some other pieces, are by my daughter, Ellen Philadelphia : the rebus-vignette on the title-page was imagined and drawn by my son-in-law, the Rev. Professor Baden Powell, of Oxford : and the Map of the Vicinity was reduced by myself from the Ordnance Survey, with local additions and corrections, together with the new survey of the IIomestead, plan and sections of the Observatory, and some of the wood-cut illustrations. Thus, you will perceive, it is a “family piece” which I now present, with assurances of remaining
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