Dedication to the Edward James Eliot
Originally published in "The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus"
Translated by Richard Graves, M.A. (1792, pages v-viii)
EDWARD JAMES ELIOT,
ONE OF THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS OF THE
TREASURY, AND MEMBER FOR LISKEARD
As I am convinced the permission with which you have honoured me, of prefixing your name, will be no small credit to this publication, I should be unhappy if the performance should do any discredit to so respectable a patron.
Some indulgence, however, must be claimed from the candour of the public, as the original of this admired work is confessedly, in some parts, extremely difficult and abstruse: for which reason, also, it has not, I believe, been generally read in the present age: so that, perhaps, even you, Sir, and your young associates in the administration, may, without knowing it, have been acting on the noble and public-spirited Maxims of Marcus Antoninus.
He was a philosopher from his youth; and coming to the government of a great empire, at a very critical period, as the love of his country was his ruling principle, so he made its prosperity the chief study and employment of his whole life.
In short, Sir, it is, I think, universally agreed, that Marcus Antoninus was one of the best sovereign princes, and one of the most virtuous men of ancient times; and I know of but one sovereign prince in modern times, who can rival him in both those respects; whose effort also for the service of his country, from the instruments employed in that service, will, I trust, be attended, as they hitherto have been, with equal success.
I have the honour to subscribe myself,
Sir, Your much obliged and Obedient servant,