[Preliminary Note.—Having somewhat rashly consented to write a short biographical preface to a volume of selections to be made in America from the writings of my friend, Mr. Hughes, I applied to him directly for the needful facts and dates. His answer was an autobiographical letter which I found so interesting that I resolved to print it, omitting only a few intimate allusions natural in such a communication, but with which the public has nothing to do. My temptation was the greater that the letter was not intended for publication, and had, therefore, that charm of unpremeditated confidence which is so apt to be wanting in more deliberate autobiographies. I cannot consult him, (and I confess that I purposely waited till I could not) for he is already at sea, on his way to America, and I fear that friendship may have tempted me to an unwarrantable liberty, but I could not bring myself, even at the risk of seeming indiscreet, to deny to others what had given me so much pleasure. At any rate, the indiscretion is wholly my own and in direct violation of the injunction with which Mr. Hughes' letter concludes: “I hate the idea of being presented in any guise to any public; so if you can't squelch the plan altogether, give only the driest and meagrest facts and dates.” I feel somewhat as if I had been reporting a private conversation, and take upon myself in advance all the reproach that belongs of right to that scourge and desecrator of modern life, the “Interviewer.” For the first time, I look forward with dread to my next meeting with an old friend, after having thus practised the familiar[vi] stage device of putting the right letter into the wrong cover. As the brief record of a well-spent and honorable life, devoted to unselfish ends and associated with notable friendships, Mr. Hughes' letter has a higher than merely personal interest. Of any critical introduction to American readers no one could stand in less need than he.