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The first edition of these Letters was published at a distance from the author, and from manuscripts that had not been copied ; these circumstances may partly account for its numerous errors. The prefatatory note attached to that edition, has the original date restored; which the printers without any attention to its connection, altered to the time of publishing the book, and thus rendered a few statements and allusions contradictory.
The author is indebted to the Editor of the National Gazette for a very courteous notice of the work. He has still further obligations to the Editor of the North American Review for an extended account of it, in which one of the offices of criticism was exercised in the most lenient manner, the full extent of which was not appreciated until he came to this revisal. The objections made by both these gentlemen-very accomplished judges—are indisputably well founded; yet they were perhaps nearly inevitable, under the circumstances in which these Letters were written.
The form of the work is not wholly fictitious, though much the largest part was thrown into this shape for convenience. There may be a slight degree of ridicule, in giving the name of an author to a work of this kind; but particular circumstances would bave made it more absurd to withhold it. It is
neither a statistical work, a Traveller's Guide, or a production of fancy. The object was to give just notions of a distinguished section of the United States, and incidentally of the nation at large; with the hope of conveying information even to Americans, and placing strangers in the right paths for investigation. It was written in a desultory way, without the aid of any books, being the result of long and various reflection, with some opportunities for observation, and under very slight subjection to any sect or party.
In wishing to avoid exaggeration, the author may not have done justice to some of the topics he has treated: they will not be injured by this reserve. He imposed on himself a rule not to speak of individuals, which is observed with very few exceptions. It would have added much vivacity to some parts of the work, and afforded him a particular gratification, one from which he was hardly restrained, to have spoken of several remarkable persons in our society: but not being an adept in personal panegyric or satire, he was more anxious not to shock that feeling in regard to bringing before the public private anecdote and character, which, whether it be owing to modesty or prudery, is so prevalent among us.
The intention of remedying the defects that have been pointed out was given up, after finding on consideration, that it would be necessary to remould the work entirely The author has therefore limited himself to correcting the numerous verbal errors, and adding a few illustrations either in the body of the page or in notes.
With these amendments it is again submitted to the indulgence of the public.