Originally Prefixed to the
The following Work, as the dates of the respective parts evince, was begun by its unhappy Author in his apartments at Newgate, on
the evening of the day subsequent to his Trial and Conviction at Justice-hall; and was finished, amidst various necessary
interruptions, in little more than the space of two months.
Prefaced to the Manuscript is the ensuing Note:
April 23, 1777.
"I began these Thoughts merely from the impression of my mind, without plan, purpose or motive, more than the
situation and state of my Soul. I continued them on a thoughtful and regular plan: and I have been enabled wonderfully--in a
state, which in better days I should have supposed would have destroyed all power of Reflection--to bring them nearly to a
conclusion. I dedicate them to God, and to the reflecting Serious amongst my Fellow-Creatures; and I bless the Almighty for the
ability to go through them, amidst the Terrors of this dire Place, and the bitter anguish of my disconsolate Mind!
"The Thinking will easily pardon all inaccuracies, as I am neither able nor willing to read over those
melancholy lines with a curious and critical eye! They are imperfect, but the Language of the Heart; and, had I time and
inclination, might and should be improved.
The few little Pieces subjoined to the Thoughts, and the Author's Last Prayer, were found amongst his
Papers. Their evident connection with the Poem was the inducement for adding them to the Volume.