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pon the litter

Jany 1840

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MY BELOVED RELATIVES AND FRIENDS,

It has often happened that the disappointment of lofty aims has proved the value and endeared the solaces of friendship; and this even where the aspirant has had no reason to accuse himself of folly in his pursuits. It is in the nature of mankind to attempt much, and he who, being weak, attempts great things, can but fail. Happy for him if, in such a case, conscience reprove not, and he can say—although I cannot give to the big world anything that would be deemed worthy of its gratitude, there are those in it who will welcome, for the giver's sake, an offering of little cost—if I cannot succeed in the great, I may in the less!

You all know my speculative turn. My much study has been a weariness to my flesh, while the result has been as nothing. However it came to pass at length, that I really thought myself nearly prepared to give something to society, for which it might be the better—and truly my heart is in heaviness for its manifold need-but I cannot make up my mind. It is one thing to publish to a criticising world, at some risque too of misleading it, if not by false sentiments, yet by ill-management;and another to say to one's own dear Friends—I love you, and can trust your love. I say this, and this only, in getting printed (not published) for your own kind eyes, the following, at least harmless, selections from my smaller sundries. In resolving to do this, I seem to have found some refuge from the consciousness of doing nothing. The matters presented to your notice are indeed of 'no pretensions, but it will suffice for you that, being what they are, they are also mine. If I thought them quite unworthy in themselves to be submitted to the eye of Wisdom, I would not venture to obtrude them even upon you. Why should I? Your kindest acceptance without your approbation, would leave me still unsatisfied, still unsuccessful; for, much as I am cheered at all times by kindliness, I am-what shall I say?-too proud? No! too just to care for the praise drawn forth by merely good intentions. (Far be it from your unhappy fate to be exposed to all the obtrusions that good intentions might involve!) I do

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