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PREFACE,

The author of the following pages, while relinquishing them for the press, felt a thousand hesitations whether or not to commit himself so far to the mercy of the world, as to submit a simple familiar correspondence to its eyes.

He had engaged to accompany the drawings* in this work with some explanations, and a general sketch of the manners and customs of the people who form their subjects. There was matter in these letters to furnish what was required; but the peculiar cireumstances of the writer on his return to England, finding the friend to whom they had been addressed dying, would not allow him leisure nor spirits to throw them into any other shape. Hence the work appears with every imperfection; and three immovable ones, he fears, are prominent: continual egotism, an appearance of ostentation, and perhaps a too unreserved disclosure of his own situation and feelings.

To such charges, the fact must reply-As these pages were originally written in the free intercourse of confidence, the writer naturally mentioned himself as going hither or thither, or being engaged in such and such scenes. He also did not hesitate to acknowledge the kindnesses he received from persons of all ranks; and so, perhaps, by giving way to gratitude,

* The American publishers of these travels omit the drawings referred to, because the time and expense necessary to procure them would greatly ex. seed the limits required; and because they are not an indispensable, thougla elegant appendage to the work.

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he may incur the suspicion of vanity. For allowing his heart to be so frequently seen, he can only repeat the same apology:

he wrote to a friend! to one who had shared his thoughts for . many years; to one whose merits were, like his misfortunes,

infinite; and whose youth has sunk blighted to the grave. Captain Henry Caulfield was this friend: and thus to mention him, is, alas! a poor tribute of respect which affection dictates, and sorrow renders sacred.

On looking over these pages, the writer found the domestic sentiments so interwoven with the general subjects, that he could not separate them without recomposing the whole. This he had not time to do: and as he has by the peculiarities of his fate, been already so brought before the eye of the public that his history is not only well known, but his feelings more than guessed at, he thought it best to submit himself at once to its indulgence, and let the letters go forth even in their original simplicity.

Hence, it is not the studied work of an author bringing forward deep researches, valuable discoveries, and consequential observations, that is now laid before the public, but the familiar correspondence of a friend, noticing the manners of the people with whom he associates, their fashions, their amusements, the sentiments of the day; and mingling with these a few occurrences happening to himself, and the reflections to which they give rise.

Such then is this work, merely Travelling Sketches: as sketches, he trusts a candid public will consider them; and not pretending to have done more, he hopes his readers will judge him by his pretensions, and not withhold the indulgence he requires.

ROBERT KER PORTER. London, March, 1809.

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