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The work which follows is submitted with great deference and some doubt to the reader.
It is an experiment; and the style and spirit are, it is believed, something out of the beaten track. The events are of real occurrence, and, to the judgment of the author, the peculiarities of character which he has here drawn—if they may be considered such, which are somewhat too common to human society—are genuine and unexaggerated. The design of the work is purely moral, and the lessons sought to be inculcated are of universal application and importance. They go to impress upon us the necessity of proper and early education--they show the ready facility with which the best natural powers may be perverted to the worst purposes—they stim
ulate to honorable deeds in the young,—teach firm ness under defeat and vicissitude, and hold forth a promise of ultimate and complete success to well directed perseverance.
By exhibiting, at the same time, the injurious consequences directly flowing from each and every aberration from the standard of a scrupulous morality, they enjoin the strictest and most jealous conscientiousness. The character of Martin Faber, not less than that of William Harding, may be found hourly in real life. The close observer may often meet with them. They are here put in direct opposition, not less with the view to contrast and comparison, than incident and interest. They will be found to develope, of themselves, and by their results, the nature of the education which had been severally given them. When the author speaks of education he does not so much refer to that received at the school and the academy. He would be understood to indicate that which the young acquire at home in the parental dwelling—under the parental
eye—in the domestic circle—at the family fireside, from those who, by nature, are best calculated to lay the guiding and the governing principles. It is not at the university that the affections and the moral faculties are to be tutored. The heart, and les petites morales—the manners, have quite another school and other teachers, all of which are but too little considered by the guardians of the young. These are the father and the mother and the friends—the play-mates and the play-places.