« PreviousContinue »
dins el 1615)
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1841, by
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern
District of New York.
The last words of an author are generally given first. Prefaces are written when the books are finished. They are generally intended as explanatory of something which the work itself will not explain, and in it the author takes the liberty to introduce himself and his motives. Few people, therefore, read the Preface, and perhaps it is as well to overlook it. The present writer acknowledges he has nothing in particular to say. The work was called for by some of his friends, who heard his lectures at the City Hall some two or three winters ago, and he has written it, rather hastily perhaps, within a few days past. A larger work would have been more imposing in appearance, but the truth is, large works and long speeches are rarely made by men of powerful thought. The giant draws up by the roots the tree, which the pigmy backs upon the live
long day. The little man may say, it was not done secundum artem--not nicely or critically. The giant says the work is done, and points him to his prostrate enemy. This for illustration, not to boast, but as an apology for so small a work, upon so great a subject--the greatest, by the way, of all the sciences, as it includes all others; the most benevolent, as it is intended to bring all to bear, for the greatest good of all mankind, now, and to come on earth.
As to boasting, the writer is well aware it is the worst policy imaginable, for any one in search of admiration. He had better seem extremely modest, make apologies, advance with cap in hand on tiptoe. This is the way to captivate all little minds, without a single spark of genius, in a work. But the object of the author is to speak exactly as he thinks, with mathematical precision. Truth may seem severe when it is not, and he who speaks it, like the skilful surgeon at an amputation, calmly cuts, but only to save life or reputation. The man who will not do so is a moral coward. He is unfit to speak, or write, or act. He is selfish,
and a selfish man is ready to do anything. He only fears the law, or sword, or pistol. But little mean minds looks only at the present apparent good, regardless of all greater good and evil in the future. And there must ever be a war between the dispositions of the classes who look only at the present, and only at the future. We must look at both at once. But to effect a great and good result, all things must be TRUE TO NATURE. The simplest carpenter's apprentice can tell you from experience, that if the joints of any frame work are not true, the parts will not well fit when put together, and it will rack down, and shake to pieces, at the first storm, which
arise. But the unwise think that they are wise, when they are only cunning. They know not the sublimity of simple truth, and when a man with the full consciousness that he has done a noble work, may seem to feel its dignity, they cry "behold how vain!" Not seeing the great work which does ennoble him, they think him vain even of the merest trifles. They judge of others by themselves. Still let us speak the truth, if not in works of
fiction, at least when great interests are at stake. How elevated, how sublime indeed the sentie ment of Sir Henry Wotton, on this subject.
“How happy is he born or taught “Who serveth not another's will,
“ Whose armor is his honest thought, “And simple truth his highest skill.
“ This man is freed from servile bands, “Of hope to rise and fear to fall,
“Lord of himself, if not of lands, “And having nothing, yet hath all.”
As it cannot be expected, that a new science of government complete, and founded on a law of motives which no system of education or philosophy has recognized, can possibly escape the envenomed shafts of such, as would, but cannot show an original idea, we desire only to say one thing to arbitrators and thinkers for the public—think first of yourselves what is necessary to just criticism. If you do not know, allow us then to hint it to you. First, a heart to feel for all the woes of all mankind, and not for those only which press now upon