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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, by

8. G. SHERMAN, In the Office of the Clerk of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.






THERE are many reasons why, in selecting a friend to whom to dedicate the following pages, I should turn to you. An acquaintance of several years' standing, and similarity of pursuits, have made me intimate with you, and being so, I know that in addition to possessing all the qualifications which become a man, and which add dignity and respect even to the judicial mantle you wear, you are an advocate of progress, almost an enthusiast for the amelioration of the condition of your fellow-beings, and a friend to man's advancement and elevation. In action, you have ever been in the front rank with the spirit of the age; in thought and feeling, you have been in advance of it.

The work now presented to the public possesses at least one merit—that of its intention. The idea was suggested to me by a close scrutiny into our social system, its progress, and its fate; and by the gross inconsistency of a republican aristocracy. Disguise the fact as we may, it still must be evident, even to those who do not go beyond the surface of things, that there is a tendency among certain classes in our community to introduce a principle, as noxious in its effects, as it is contrary to the happiness of man and to the genius of our institutions. That principle is aristocracy, and that aristocracy is one of wealth. History is fruitful in furnishing us with illustrations of this principle; and every instance gathered from the experience of the past, proves, that of all aristocracies, that of mere wealth is most to be shunned. In an aristocracy of priests there may be feeling; in one where birth and blood are the qualifications, ancestral reminiscences may be some guarantee for the good treatinent of the masses, and humanity may find a corner in which to dwell ; but an aristocracy of money-bags is cold, selfish, and heartless, weighing nature's noblest work-man-against the almighty dollar, and making the former ever kick the beam. With such a system, the holiest passions and sentiments of our nature are lost: love is but a name; friendship, a trick;


sympathy, a hollow sound from a hollow heart; and piety, the knee and lip worship at the altar of Mammon.

We have not yet arrived at this state of things, and Heaven grant we never may. Our sins are as yet only follies, which threaten to ripen into poisonous fruit. These follies I have seized, and giving them “a local habitation and a name," they have produced this book, which, by holding the mirror up to society, shows it its defects, and points impressively to the remedy. Many, in perusing the volume, may object to the incidents as strained, and to the characters as overdrawn; to such I only reply with the words of the satirist:

“Vice with such giant strides comes on amain,

Invention strives to be before in vain;
Feign what I will, and paint it e'er so strong,
Some rising genius sins up to my song."

In giving a sketch of modern society, I have not violated the sanctity of the domestic hearth, nor have I drawn from the dark depihs of infamy, to fester in the light of day and spread pollution around, scenes and incidents repulsive to refined minds, and calculated to pamper to dissolute tastes or depraved appetites. The object I have kept steadily in view is to make fiction illustrate fact, and to let the fantastic antics of folly inculcate a moral lesson. Whether I have succeeded in my object is a question that can be answered only by time. You, however, will appreciate the motive, and for its sake, if not for mine, will, be inclined to look with favor upon this my first effort, which, whatever its fate, I dedicate to you, regretting only that it is not more worthy of your acceptance.

Very truly,

Your Friend

And Obedient Servant,



A SINGLE word to the reader by way of a preface. The author has not the most distant idea of detaining the amiable reader by a detailed history of the motives which induced him to present himself as a candidate for admission into the republic of letters; neither has he any intention of entering on an abstractional, metaphysical, or philosophical disquisition of the political and social causes that gave birth to the veritable effects narrated in the body of this book. This duty must devolve upon those who peruse the volume - if inclination prompts to the work. The facts are there registered, and every one can make his own deductions.

“Why, then, write a preface at all?” says one.
What can it possibly contain ?” exclaims another.

" 'Tis a shallow excuse,” cries a third, “ to avoid relinquishing the use of his pen.”

" True !” adds a fourth : “ it has once been started, and now, like the imperishable . Cork-leg,' there is no stopping it."

Patience, O gentle readers! Hear reason, most amiable clamorers !

The object of a preface, (in the present instance,) is merely for the purpose of making a disavowal. Grant me your attention but a single instant, and then you are dismissed from the common turnpike of facts to the undulating fields, where fact and fancy blend in harmonizing colors, and form landscapes fair to the eye, and attractive to the soul.


It is not improbable, that in a romance such as the present-where the scene is familiar to almost every one, and the time within all of our recollections—that characters may be individualized, and the author made subject to the charge of drawing too largely upon real life for his materials. Circumstances may even combine to lead to this conclusion, and yet the conclusion itself may be an erroneous one.

For ourselves, we unhesitatingly and distinctly disavow any such intention, and we request the ingenuous reader to acquit us of it. The foibles of some friends, it is trụe, may have assisted to make up a few of the minor characters; but those friends, should they recognize the likenesses, will take in good humor all that is here set down, and if the portraits are well sketched, let them smile at the wit without being angered at the liberty >

“ For naught did I in hate, but all in honor."

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