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LIFE AND REFLECTIONS
W WHICH ARE DISPLAYED,
THE REAL CHARACTERS
BY REV, ELIJAH R. SABIN.
MAN KNOW THYSELF."
District of Massachusetts, to wit :
District Clerk's Office. BE it remembered, that on the eighteenth day of November, (L. S) A. D. 1816, and in the Forty-first year of the Independence
of the United States of America, ELIJAH R. SABIN, and ROWE & HOOPER, of the said District, have deposited in this Office, the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Proprietors, in the words following, to wit:
« The life and reflections of Charles Observator; in which are displayed, the real characters of human life. By Rev. Elijah R. Sabin. 6 Man know thyself.”.
In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “ An Act for the encouragement of learing, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during the times therein mentioned ;” and also to an Act entitled, “An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, an Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned; and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching, historical, and other prints.”
JOHN W. DAVIS,
& Read the Preface before you proceed.
THERE is a common objection against book-making, which the writer of the following pages thinks proper to obviate. It is said, there are already too many books in the world! This is acknowledged. But it will not follow, that others will not have their useful.
New books are more read than old ones, and during the time of their being read, they have their good effects, if well written, and on proper subjects. How far the writer has succeeded in his attempts, is left to the judgment of a candid and discerning public. He fancies that he is sometimes sufficiently original and never a servile imitator that the characters drawn, the subjects treated, and the reflections made, are such as may afford entertainment and instruction. Though he makes no high pretentions to learning, yet he hopes the style and manner of writing, are such, that the learned reader will not be dis. zusted; and that the youth, for whom it is principally intended, may ind a check to vice and a help to virtue. He has had the happiness to find indulgence, in the public mind, for several smaller publications before given to the world; and having bestowed more pains on this, than on any preceding one, the reader may find it equally deserving of patronage.
The learned reader need not suppose that the writer, in the use of fictitious names, found in this work, has aimed at correct Greek and Latin terminations. He professes no scholastic knowledge of the Latin, and though he has a small acquaintance with the Greek, he does not pretend, in all cases, to make use of such terminations as to convert the words used into proper names. It was necessary in some
cases to affix names to characters, and in some instances the radical part of those names is intended as appropriate to the characters; and in the terminations nothing more was intended than to make those names sound smoothly to the ear. Whether the thing intended will be considered as attained, by all readers, the writer is not prepared to say-he can however say, that to his own ear, they generally sound sufficiently smooth ; and he hopes they will not be so unpleasant to any, as to give just cause of offence. With this explanation, he also hopes, that the candid will not suspect him of podantry, nor as departing in the least from his proposed plan.
The understanding reader will, no doubt, be sensible of the difficulty. of correctly varying the style exactly to suit such a variety of characters; and of always putting remarks into the mouths of persons, fitted by their station and profession to make them. In these particulars the writer is not always satisfied with himself; but this being the first attempt at this kind of writing, he desires it may mitigate the offence, in the view of readers of nice discernment and good taste.
As it respects the satire and ridicule which are found in the following pages, he will say a few words. Some vicious persons will feel the force of such a style, who disdain every thing grave; and when once ashamed of their own picture, may be disposed to attend to the annexed serious reflection, and thus have their morals amended. He has never used this style with an intention, merely to make his readers laugh ; though he is willing that such ridiculous characters should be laughed out of their folly.
If it be considered, that the inspired writers have given us some of the liveliest and most cutting examples of satire; he begs that religious readers would not think him altogether unjustifiable in his method of writing; but that they will do him the justice to believe, he has had throughout the whole, the good of society in view; and, that he has been serious himself during the whole performance. The instanees of satire to which he would have his readers particularly attend, may be read in the following places of Scripture : 1 Kings, viii, 27. 2
18. Isai. xliv, 9-20.
It is also well known, that Mr. Addison was a man celebrated for his piety, yet his writings are as famous for their satire, as for their good style, and the happy effects they produced in reforming the vices and vanities of the age. And though the writer does not pretend to class himself with so elegant and celebrated an author, yet he may be permitted to sit at his feet and look at the same object.
To the candid critic he will say, that friendly hints respecting any impropriety will be esteemed as a call for gratitude, and shall be carefully attended to in case of a second edition. But the invidious wretch, who snarls at every thing not his own, may expect to be treated with silent contempt.
The writer is not so vain as to suppose, others have not excelled him in characteristical writings. But while he acknowledges the ability with which many excellent authors have written, he hopes it will not be thought a vanity arising from ignorance, to think he has so far done justice to the subjects brought forward, that they may take a lower seat with those who have higher claims. He acknowledges, however, that a confession of inferiority, would be a poor claim on the public attention, if he had followed servilely in the footsteps of his predecessors. But imagining as he does, that no one has ever taken this track before, the reader may find that he has so explored it, as that it will not be time and labor lost, to follow on by an attentive perusal of what is written. If after all, the candid reader shall be of a different opinion, he only asks, that he will do the writer the justice to believe, he did his best to deserve a favorable reception for his little publication.
But as long prefaces like repetitious and long prayers, leave rather an unfavorable than a good impression, he would conclude, by wishing that what is well meant may be well received ; and do that good to the lives and morals of his fellow creatures, for which he has offered up many fervent petitions to God, during the time spent in writing.