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because we know, that, if he did, he would deem the best way of putting it down to be by stating the facts concerning its contents, and adding any refutation of doctrines he might judge important; and no man ever employed untruth where he considered truth to be as efficacious for his object. Moreover, in another aspect, the man from whose heart falsehood is flowing cannot pretend his heart is at the same time. pure; and he who utters one thing he knows to be untrue, cannot claim to believe in the truth of another thing said in the same breath. Whoever, therefore, while forging falsehood and false extracts to destroy a book, pretends that his motive is good, and that he believes the book a bad one, only increases thereby his guilt; and, in the eye of morality, whatever reason he may give for his conduct, if the wretch who draws away the physical life from the soul of his fellow-man deserves the gallows once, this wretch deserves it many times. The one offender takes from one mind the staff on which it was to have leaned a little while longer on earth; the other offender does what he may, more or less, to remove, and so is guilty in morals the same as though he succeeded in removing, not from one mind alone, not for a mere brief period, but from unnumbered souls and for all periods, those heavenly jettisons of imperishable soul-substance, gathered by a mortal for their use, on which their Heavenly Father, ever-present yet unseen, permits them to feed and grow strong, not alone for their course through this earthly sphere, but for all their aerial flight over the heights of fadeless and unbounded wisdom for ever. The one offender bears away from one soul the instrument of earth given for its use a little while here; the other offender clutches
steps of everlasting bloom and peerless beauty over which lies the track trodden, and to be trodden, by the race, on its unending journey toward the Infinite; and, though he accomplishes not what he undertakes, though he succeeds not in bearing even a fragment of them away to his own mire and darkness, he only finds himself in the situation of all other persons who contend with the Infinite. And though he should say, that he meant neither injury to the author personally, nor detriment to the public, but only meant to prevent a hated book from superseding another in the market, his excuse would avail him in morals simply what in law the murderer's does, who merely killed his victim for his money.
From these thoughts of human wickedness, however perpetrated in doing reverence to my book, gladly turns my mind away to those bright spots in my brief life of authorship, where have come to me the kindly recognitions of my labors, from stranger and from friend alike. And though in the public notices of my works, their plan and manner of execution have not always been understood by those who have called the public attention to them, and sometimes I have been commended for what merited no special mention, and in a few instances have been censured where praise should have been bestowed, and usually whatever is peculiar in my writings has been overlooked, yet all equally of these well-intended fraternal greetings have been welcome to me, in hours of weariness and of sickness, when the heart has had communings with itself which the pen refuses to record. Not indeed should I be human, if I did not, under any circumstances, rejoice in the kindly act of an honest man; not indeed should I be human if those shafts of falsehood winged by malice had not
wounded me somewhat; but, as to the latter, they having spent themselves, the occurrence is not now a source of regret to me on my own account. Neither is it a matter of regret to me on my own account, that, since those who were responsible to the public for what was said falsely, have generously joined in the general commendation of my book, they are still destitute of the qualities of mind and heart to prompt them to set right before the public what of fact they formerly set wrong. For all who have wronged the public in the matter I regret, that, sooner or later, they must suffer those internal sorrows which always follow evil-doing.
I am not unaware, that some of the herein written observations will seem out of place to some of my readers, and among them to some whose opinions I highly respect; while some other of my readers will deem them in bad taste anywhere. Still I am certain, that the period will come in this earth's history, when, if my name is not forgotten, men, so far from reproaching my memory for this act, will blame me for having done so little to promote good morals in an age and country wherein honorable gentlemen could live undisturbed after having lent themselves to the wickedness I have described. Therefore, as the present and future may stand opposite to each other upon this subject, and myself between the two, I pray of both alike to remember, that I am a human being, subject to the imperfections of human nature.
Let me also crave the indulgence of my readers in respect of the matter constituting my books. He who proposes to employ a large part of his life in the preparation of works for the use of gentlemen adorning the highest walks of learning, must be too ignorant to
difficulties, not easily overcome. And he must know, that he is to commit many errors, which the public will forgive, or withdraw from him her approval. I do not wish to screen my works from animadversion; but only request, that such errors as are necessarily incident to works of this kind may be overlooked, and that things which appear wrong may be examined on their merits, not on previous impressions, before a judgment concerning them is pronounced. I lay down no doctrine hastily, however brief may be the words in which it is conveyed; and, though I may be wrong on a point, others may be wrong also. If I should say nothing except what every reader had thought before, why present mybooks to the attention of the learned? If however any man, after examination, deems my writings to be erroneous either in part or in the whole, let him say so as freely as he will; and know, that I, at least, shall commend him, whether others do or not.
A further word may be desirable concerning the manner in which this second edition of this volume has been prepared. Not only have I endeavored to write the law down to the present time, it being something over two years since the first edition was published, but I have also supplied some omissions of matters inadvertently passed over in producing the original work. Yet a greater improvement consists in simplifying the statements, and more particularly in adding to the discussions, of points mentioned before. In my anxiety to crowd much matter into small space, I made the first edition somewhat too condense; for, while its doctrines were all plain to gentlemen who carefully read the whole book in its order, they were not always understood by those who, not having read it, merely referred to it for points on particular subjects. This difficulty
I trust I have removed in the present edition, as far as it can be removed without a double and triple statement of points and authorities. Yet no reader can so well understand the later portions of a systematic treatise as one who has already read the earlier portions.
BOSTON, Sept. 1, 1858.
J. P. B.