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lay nearest at hand as to any estimate of their relative fitness or merit. If any apology is needed for the light and playful tone of some of them, it must be found in the fact that they were written at times when any more serious effort would have been irksome and painful, and that they afforded the necessary episodical relief of an intense and over-earnest life. There are other papers bearing directly or remotely upon questions which still divide popular feeling and opinion, the entire omission of which would have done injustice to the author's convictions and been a poor compliment to the reader's liberality.

It may be as well for the author to frankly own that; in giving these hasty and ill-assorted papers to his publishers, he has had some fear that he was making an unnecessary experiment upon the patience and kindness of the reading public, to which he is already a good deal indebted. Apart, however, from a little solicitude as respects the interests of his good-natured publishers, he resigns his book to its fate with a comfortable degree of unconcern, satisfied that it will at least find favor in the quarter where favor will be most grateful and desirable — the hearts of his personal friends.

AMESBURY, fifth month, 1854.

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