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nites.” Brissot, in the preface to his travels, observes, that " freedom in that country is carried to so high a degree as to border upon a state of nature ;” and there certainly is a close approximation to savage life, not only in the liberty which they enjoy, but in the violence of party spirit and of private animosity which results from it. This illiberal zeal embitters all social intercourse; and, though I scarcely could hesitate in selecting the party, whose views appeared the more pure and rational, yet I was sorry to observe that, in asserting their opinions, they both assume an equal share of intolerance; the Democrats, consistently with their principles, exhibiting a vulgarity of rancour, which the Federalists too often are so forgetful of their cause as to imitate.
The rude familiarity of the lower orders, and indeed the unpolished state of society in general, would neither surprise nor disgust if they seemed to flow from that simplicity of character, that honest ignorance of the gloss of refinement, which may be looked for in a new and inexperienced people. But, when we find them arrived at maturity in most of the vices, and all the pride, of civilization, while they are
still so remote from its elegant characteristics, it is impossible not to feel that this youthful decay, this crude anticipation of the natural period of corruption represses every sanguine hope of the future energy and greatness of America.
I am conscious that, in venturing these few remarks, I have said just enough to offend, and by no ineans sufficient to convince; for the limits of a preface will not allow me to enter into a justification of my opinions, and I am committed on the subject as effectually, as if I had written volumes in their defence. My reader, however, is apprised of the very cursory observation
upon which these opinions are founded, and can easily decide for himself upon the degree of attention or confidence which they merit.
With respect to the poems in general, which occupy the following pages, I know not in what manner to apologize to the public for intruding upon their notice such a mass of unconnected trifles, such a world of epicurean atoms as I have here brought in conflict together. To say that I have been tempted by the liberal offers of my bookseller is an excuse which can
hope for but little indulgence from the critic; yet I own that, without this seasonable inducement, these poems very possibly would never have been submitted to the world. The glare of publication is too strong for such imperfect productions: they should be shewn but to the eye of friendship, in that dim light of privacy, which is as favourable to poetical as to female beauty, and serves as a veil for faults, while it enhances every charm which it displays. Besides, this is not a period for the idle occupations of poetry, and times like the present require talents more active and more useful. Few have now the leisure to read such trifles, and I sincerely regret that I have had the leisure to write them.