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Pleased with the hope that I should be able to pass the decline of

my little nook sacred to literature, not in inactivity, but in contemplation, I have been steadily occupied in the completion of a work upon the conduct of the understanding, on which I have been engaged for many years. In my times of recreation I have collected these trifles. They are published with the feeling so beautifully expressed by a celebrated divine: “ I persuade myself that the life and faculties of man, at the best but short and limited, cannot be employed more rationally or laudably than in the search of knowledge; and especially of that sort which relates to our duty and conduces to our happiness. In these inquiries, therefore,


wherever I perceive any glimmering of truth before me, I readily pursue, and endeavour to trace to its source;


any or caution of pushing the discovery too far, or opening too great a glare of it to the public. I look upon the discovery of any thing which is true, as a valuable acquisition to society, which cannot possibly hurt or obstruct the good effect of any other truth whatsoever : for they all partake of one common essence and necessarily coincide with each other: and like the drops of rain, which fall separately into the river, mix themselves at once with the stream and strengthen the general current.”

B. M.

August 1, 1837.

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