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To prepare the change that is inevitable, to infuse into the democracy that is advancing to power, what was great and graceful in the best days of the aristocracy that has long possessed it;-to ingraft on the manly and solid character of the English people, the lofty daring and the cultivated intelligence which in times not remote from these were remarkable in the English nobility;-to join to the popular virtues of economy and industry, the no less necessary qualities (in those who are to guide an empire) of justice, honour, and courage ;-to moderate the popular zeal in politics and religion, by a learned toleration for the feelings and opinions of all opponents;-such, it appears to me, should be the desire of a writer who hopes, my dear Sir, for your friendship, and aspires above the mere party aims and politics of the hour.
Some, I know, imagine that every period of civilization is to have the same results. They quarrel with the times gone by, on account of the class which ruled then, as others quarrel with the present, because the power from that class is passing-has in fact passed away. This, I feel sure, is not the judgment of your liberal and enlightened mind. To an independent and respectable nobility, we owe much.
It has enriched our merchants and our tradesmen with the spirit and intelligence of a senate; and preserved the morality of our gentry from the enervating corruptions of a
Let us not disdain, then, but embody, our past history in our future progress! This is the way that a great people march on easily and naturally in the road to greatness.
Of old, the seer who sought in vain one of those mysterious luminaries he was accustomed to admire-said, "the star is not lost to mankind; but, attracted to some mightier orb, enriches with the effulgence that I miss -the splendours of a more glorious world :-" and so, on this pigmy earth-the institutions of one generation, when they apparently disappear, do but pass on to the next; and the great system of society is perpetually brightened by the systems it perpetually absorbs.
It is, my dear Sir, with a sincere friendship, that I subscribe myself,
A salutation to all of you, friends and enemies, whom I have had as judges, and before whose tribunal I am once more to appear! Thanks to you who have seen any merit, more thanks to you who have seen any utility in the pages I have, with a deep humility, previously offered to the public. You will agree with me, I have little doubt, as to the imperfect manner in which my task has been fulfilled. You will agree with me also, I venture to trust, in acknowledging there was some difficulty attending its fulfilment.
To paint a country which, visiting every year, every person imagines that he knows—yet which, for the very reason perhaps that it is at their door, few persons have attentively examined to be met first by the idea that you can say nothing new; and then by the prejudice against all you do say which is not old-to enter last into competition with deservedly distinguished writers, who have wielded the weapons of controversy with a grace and a tact which betray-what their judgment might have concealed-the sex they belonged to ;* this was no easy labour to have accomplished with or
* See Lady Morgan's France, and Miss Berry's State of Society in France and England.
dinary success; and most grateful am I for that which has been accorded me. There is something indeed in the nature of a work like the present, which furnishes in itself an excuse for its imperfections. On the one
hand, the author is called upon to devote much industry and time to the collection of his materials; and this gives his efforts the effect of preparation and research. On the other hand, he is called upon to throw those materials into form with as much rapidity as possible, and this tarnishes his labours with the defects of negligence and haste. Oh! reader, who is to be!-did you chance to hear that not long since, a small island suddenly appeared on the coast of Sicily; instantly we planted our flag there, so thank God! it is ours. But it as suddenly disappeared-yes; it is ours--but under the ocean; the sounding sea rolls over it again; and if we had delayed a moment, it would never have been added to our empire, no, never. Such, in some sort, is the shifting scene of life and politics before us, the condition and the fortune of states and of men. We must plant our standard quickly-at the moment-on that fleeting shore; -a minute, and it will be covered by the ever mounting sea, which has already risen over 5000 years.
Early species of popular composition-Origin of novels -Chivalric Italian-Heroic Milesian-Later schools -Le Sage Rousseau-Walter Scott - Anomalous school displayed in melo-drama-General considerations.
IN some degree I regret that my volumes open with the subject I am now commencing.But this work must be considered as the continuation of one published a year ago; and which, concluding with history and the drama, left me about to enter on the lighter productions of French literature.
Still, such productions are not altogether unworthy of consideration: they have generally been thought to pourtray, more faithfully than any other, the manners of their time; and although this is not universally correct, it is