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OF THE PUBLISHER,
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
IN laying the present volume before Americans the Publisher deems it necessary to offer but cne motive, ITS SUPERLATIVE MERIT. As a work of science, literature, wit, humour and satire, he has the authority of the first critics that it stands unrivalled among the productions of the present
However sufficient such a motive may be regarded for the exertions he has made in expediting the labours of the Printer, and the expence he has incurred in the embellishments of the Engraver, it will be readily imagined with how much more zeal the task was undertaken, when he found that he was likely to have the gratification of being the first to announce the very celebrated, but hitherto unknown, "CHRISTOPHER CAUSTIC" to be an American, a citizen of Ver
A few circumstances connected with his history, which have come to the publisher's knowledge, he should deem an act of injustice to genius to withhold from the public.
The gentleman to whom the world is indebted for this performance is THOMAS GREEN FESSENDEN, the son of a respectable clergyman, of Wal
pole, New-Hampshire. In the year 1796, our author graduated at Dartmouth College, and soon after moved to Rutland in Vermont, where he commenced the study of the law with a gentleman* of eminence in that profession, and with whom, if we are not misinformed, he was afterwards connected in business.
During this period, as well as during his resi dence at College, the Eagle, a newspaper of Dartmouth, and the Farmer's Weekly Museum, a well known classic paper of Walpole, were often enlivened by his sprightly muse. His extreme diffidence produced almost a religious scruple against allowing his name to be attached to any of his pieces. To this cause must be attributed the circumstance of its not being generally known to what Bard the public has been indebted for several patriotic songs, and other very humourous pieces of his composition, which have had a general circulation and admiration through our country.
In the year 1801, Mr. FESSENDEN was induced to embark for London, chiefly with a view of introducing an hydraulic machine, which, by sev eral of his best friends, who became sharers in the enterprize, was regarded as a very important invention. He found, however, to his great mortification, on his arrival in London, that his
NATHANIEL CHIPMAN, Esq. who, besides great accomplishments as a lawyer, is eminently distinguished for superior attainments in the higher walks of both science and literature.
machine was already common there, and of consequence, every prospect of emolument from that source vanished., Ambitious not to return to his native country with the disgrace of a defeat, he gave ear to a project set on foot by one of our countrymen, then in London, of constructing a mill to be carried by the water of the Thames. Several men of rank and influence, among whom was the then Lord Mayor of London, SIR WILLIAM STAINES, being patrons of the undertaking and other circumstances holding out a reasonable prospect of great success, Mr. FESSENDEN ventured on a purchase of one fifth of the concern. The protection of the great, as is not unusual on such occasions, not being continued long enough to give the mill a fair experiment, and our author being the only man in the concern possessed of talent as well as character sufficient to take the management of the establishment, the burden of the whole necessarily devolved on him; and we understand there is reason to apprehend that his great exertions have hitherto been but ill requited. It is here that the transcendant energies of his mind become most apparent. Amid the vexatious embarrassments and distracting cares with which this engagement constantly harrassed him, he undertook, and, within the term of four weeks, a part of which was under the influence of severe sickness, which confined him to his bed, executed the first edition of the admirable work before us!!
Another circumstance, which we are competent also to state, still further enhances his talents, and will increase the astonishment of the reader. Previous to his entering on the composition of this Poem, which was in February 1803, he had been, during his residence in England, through his laborious and unwearied application to the interests of the mill, almost a stranger to books, and unknown to men of letters. His society, necessarily consisting of persons interested in the concern, happened unfortunately to be a class of illiterate men, who disgraced the name of mechanics and tradesmen, and who, to use his own expression, were guilty of every thing but common sense and common honesty. This circumstance, it may well be conceived, was little congenial to a mind of such integrity as we are assured distinguishes his own, and to the feelings of so fixed a foe to vice of every species, as is apparent in every page of this poem. Indeed this volume, as was said of a much larger one on another occasion, "was written, not in the soft obscurities of retirement, or under the shades of academic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and distraction, in sickness and in sorrow." Like poor BLOOMFIELD, who often laid down the awl to record the deeds of his FARMER'S BOY, EESSENDEN often laid aside the broad-axe and the chissel to indite the feats of his CAUSTIC