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EMERSON AND HIS WRITINGS.
On introducing to the public the present edition of these Essays and Orations of Emerson, some notice of their gifted author may not be unacceptable. His life, indeed, like that of many literary men, although rich in that mental history which may be read in his works, has in it few external incidents that demand special notice from the biographer.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON was born in 1803, at Boston, U. S. There seems a fitness in that being the native city of Emerson, which is not only the most intellectual of the Union, but has long been distinguished as the soil in which those opinions and tendencies that characterize his writings have taken deepest root. From his boyhood he seems to have exhibited the same original and thoughtful turn of mind that marks his
He made considerable proficiency in his studies, and took his degree, as Bachelor of Arts, at Harvard University, in his 18th year. He now began to devote some attention to theological pursuits. Holding a very exalted idea of the duties and responsibilities of the religious teacher, he had for some time felt a strong and growing dissatisfaction with the views of faith and practice generally inculcated in the pulpits of New England. His active and inquiring mind gave itself freely up to the investigation of theology ; and this, at length, terminated in his becoming pastor of an Unitarian congregation in Boston. But a difference of opinion, that might have easily been foreseen in a mind like that of Emerson, with its dislike and impatience of mere forms, and indifference to “minor points and dogmas dim,” arose between the pastor and his flock. The result was the resignation, by the former, of his ministerial charge. He now began to devote himself with greater ardour to purely literary pursuits, and accumulated those stores of learning, the variety and richness of which so frequently surprise and please us in his writings.
A few years ago, Emerson made the tour of Europe. Some of his