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Presented by HON. D. BETHUNE, DUFF1ELD,
From Library of Rev. Geo. Duffield, D.D.
Ektibid, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1833, by Sakoh. Kwir.tii.il, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Maryland.
A Preface is to the reader, what a fence is to a horse, when it obstructs his progress to a field of sprouting herbage, which he considers himself justifiable to enter by leaping over the barrier. The reader wades through a long preface with as much reluctance, as he would pass through the ordeal of a ceremonious introduction to a large assemblage of guests, when invited to dine with a stranger. This repugnance to preface-reading, doubtless arises out of the fact, that prefaces are generally dull, and often but the prelude to a still duller book.
To the author, a preface is considered as privileged ground. Upon this arena, he deems himself at liberty to act without restraint—to tyrannise over the time and patience of his reader, by giving a loose rein to his fancy, and by pursuing a course as wayward and foreign to the subject before him as either his pedantry or his vanity may dictate. In the after pages of his work, he considers himself under obligation occasionally to cast a sidelong glance at the subject he is professing to discuss, and to pay some little respect to the laws of unity, and to a systematick arrangement of his thoughts. We cannot, therefore, but admire this bountiful provision secured to him by the power of custom, by which provision he is allowed, after having toiled through the tedious task of manufacturing a ponderous volume, here to throw off the shackles, and revel over this licensed corner of his field, and become as familiar, and egotistical, and inane, as his conscience and his common sense will permit. But it might be well for some writers (myself included, undoubtedly) to consider that custom is a