Although the settlement of this part of Otsego a little preceded the birth of the author, it was not sufficiently advanced to render it desirable that an event so important to himself should take place in the wilderness.
But the author indulged his recollections freely when he had fairly entered the door.
Beginning in Boston, they were continued in a Boston suburb, on the shores of Lake George, in a Western New York health resort, in Buffalo, in Nahant; once, twice, and thrice in New York, with reversions to Boston, and summer excursions to the hills and waters of New England, until it seemed that their author had at last said his say, and he voluntarily lapsed into silence with the applause of friends and enemies alike.
His opinions were always impersonal; and now as their manner rather than their make has been slightly tempered, it may surprise the belated reader to learn that it was the belief of one English critic that their author had "placed himself beyond the pale of decency" by them.
The conclusions deduced from these facts are unavoidable, and in stating them the author has been influenced by no feeling of animosity, either to the individuals themselves, or to that glorious cause which has not always been served by the proceedings of some of its advocates.
There are some things related in the narrative which will be sure to appear strange, or perhaps entirely incomprehensible, to the reader; but they cannot appear more so to him than they did to the author at the time.
It is not, perhaps, necessary to enumerate so many reasons why the author of the Scottish Novels, as they were then exclusively termed, should be desirous to make an experiment on a subject purely English.
The idea of this contrast was taken from the ingenious and unfortunate Logan's tragedy of Runnamede, in which, about the same period of history, the author had seen the Saxon and Norman barons opposed to each other on different sides of the stage.
In like manner, the excellence of the mental entertainment consists less in the subject than in the author's skill in well dressing it up.
In reality, true nature is as difficult to be met with in authors, as the Bayonne ham, or Bologna sausage, is to be found in the shops.
In one of these chapters on the present decadence of architecture, and on the death (in his mind almost inevitable) of that king of arts, the author
expresses and develops an opinion unfortunately well rooted in him, and well thought out.
"While the Author
cannot but feel the full force of the compliment thus conveyed to him, he ventures to suggest that these contentions may arise from the fact, that Mr.