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landlord furnished him with materials to be worked up into a book, in order that the profits might go to discharge the arrearages of a certain con sumptive lodger, who made his exit so unceremo. niously as to leave the last item in his account, his funeral charges.
He is indebted to no garrulous tale-teller for beguiling the long winter evenings ; in ghosts he has no faith; he never had a vision in his life; and he sleeps too soundly to dream.
He is constrained to add, that in no “ puff," “ squib,” “notice," "article," nor" review," whether in daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly publication, has he been able to find a single hint that his humble powers could improve. No one regrets this fatality more than himself; for these writers generally bring such a weight of imagination to their several tasks, that, properly improved, might secure the immortality of any book, by rendering it unintelligible.
He boldly asserts, that he has derived no information from any of the learned societies—and without fear of contradiction; for why should one so obscure be the exclusive object of their favours !
Notwithstanding he occasionally is seen in that erudite and abstemious association, the “Bread and-Cheese Lunch," where he is elbowed by lawyers, doctors, jurists, poets, painters, editors, congressmen, and authors of every shade and qualification, whether metaphysical, scientific, or imaginative, he avers, that he esteems the lore which is there culled, as far too sacred to be used in any work less dignified than actual history.
Of the colleges it is necessary to speak with reverence; though truth possesses claims even superior to gratitude. He shall dispose of them by simply saying, that they are entirely innocent of all his blunders; the little they bestowed having long since been forgotten.
He has stolen no images from the deep, natural poetry of Bryant; no pungency from the wit of Halleck; no felicity of expression from the richness of Percival; no satire from the caustic pen of Paulding; no periods nor humour from Irving; nor any high finish from the attainments exbibited by Verplanck.
At the “ soirées" and " coteries des bas bleus" he did think he had obtained a prize, in the dandies of literature, who haunt them. But experiment and analysis detected his error; as they proved these worthies unfit for any better purpose than that which their own instinct had already dictated.
He has made no impious attempt to rob Joe Miller of his jokes; the sentimentalists of their pathcs; nor the newspaper Homers of their lofty inspirations.
His presumption has not even imagined the vivacity of the eastern states; he has not analyzed
the homogeneous character of the middle ; and he has left the south in the undisturbed possession of all their saturnine wit.
In short-he has pilfered from no black-letter book, nor any six-penny pamphlet; his grandmother unnaturally refused her assistance to his la. bours; and, to speak affirmatively, for once, he wishes to live in peace, and hopes to die in the fear of God
In this tale there are one or two slight anachronisms; which, if unnoticed, might, with literal readers, draw some unpleasant imputations on its veracity.-They relate rather to persons than to things. As they are believed to be quite in character, connected with circumstances much more probable than facts, and to possess all the harmony of poetic colouring, the author is utterly unable to discover the reason why they are not true.
Hc leaves the knotty point to the instinctive sagacity of the critics.
The matter of this “ Legend” may be pretty equally divided into that which is publicly, and that which is privately certain. For the authorities of the latter, the author refers to the foregoing preface; but he cannot dispose of the sources whence he has derived the former, with so little ceremony.
The good people of Boston are aware of the creditable appearance they make in the early annals of the confederation, and they neglect no commendable means to perpetuate the glories of their ancestors. In consequence, the inquiry after his torical facts, is answered, 'there, by an exhibition of local publications, that no other town in the union can equal. Of these means the author has endeavoured to avail himself; collating with care, and selecting, as he trusts, with some of that knowledge of men and things which is necessary to pre-, sent a faithful picture.
Wherever he may have failed, he has done it honestly.
He will not take leave of the cradle of liberty,' without expressing his thanks for the facilities which have been so freely accorded to his undertaking. If he has not been visited by aerial beings, and those fair visions that poets best love to create, he is certain he will not be misconceived when be says, that he has been honoured by the notice of some resembling those, who first inspired their fancies.