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LACON;

OR

MANY THINGS IN FEW WORDS:

ADDRESSED

TO THOSE WHO THINK.

BY THE REV. C. C. COLTON, A. M.

"THE PROPER STUDY OF MANKIND IS MAN."

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PREFACE

THERE are three difficulties in authorship; to write any thing worth the publishing-to find honest men to publish it-and to get sensible men to read it. Literature has now become a game; in which the Booksellers are the kings; the Critics, the knaves; the Public, the pack; and the poor Author, the mere table, or thing played upon.

For the last thirty years, the public mind has had such interesting and rapid incidents to witness, and to reflect upon, and must now anticipate some that will be still more momentous, that any thing like dulness or prosing in authorship, will either nauseate, or be refused; the realities of life have pampered the public palate with a diet so stimulating, that vapidity has now become as insipid as water to a dram-drinker, or sober sense to a fanatic.

The attempts however of dulness, are constantly repeated, and as constantly fail. For the misfortune is that the head of dulness, unlike the tail of the torpedo, loses nothing of her benumbing and lethargizing influence, by reiterated discharges; horses may ride over her and mules and asses may trample upon her, but with an exhaustless and a patient perversity, she continues her narcotic operation even to the end. In fact, the press was never so powerful in quantity, and so weak in quality, as at the present day; if applied to it, the simile of Virgil must be reversed, Non trunco sed frondibus efficit umbram.* It is in literature as in finance-much paper and much poverty may coexist.

It may happen that I myself am now committing

The leaves, not the trunk, cast the shadow.-Puv.

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PN

6271

072

1899

ADVERTISEMENT

TO THE FIRST AMERICAN STEREOTYPE EDITION

THE Publisher of this stereotype edition of Lacon has long found it a subject of complaint with his acquaintances that they could not procure a good copy of this work for their libraries. The editions which have been published, in this country, are not only printed on had paper, but also abound with typographical and grammatical errors. Great care has been taken to have this edition correct in both those particulars, and it is confidently expected that it will prove so to be. He has also, for the satisfaction of that large class of readers who have not studied the language,-had the numerous Latin quotations in the work translated, and put in the form of notes, at the bottom of each page.

ENTERED according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by WM. GOWANS, in the Clerk's Office of the District of New York.

PREFACE

THERE are three difficulties in authorship; to write any thing worth the publishing-to find honest men to publish it-and to get sensible men to read it. Literature has now become a game; in which the Booksellers are the kings; the Critics, the knaves; the Public, the pack; and the poor Author, the mere table, or thing played upon.

For the last thirty years, the public mind has had such interesting and rapid incidents to witness, and to reflect upon, and must now anticipate some that will be still more momentous, that any thing like dulness or prosing in authorship, will either nauseate, or be refused; the realities of life have pampered the public palate with a diet so stimulating, that vapidity has now become as insipid as water to a dram-drinker, or sober sense to a fanatic.

The attempts however of dulness, are constantly repeated, and as constantly fail. For the misfortune is that the head of dulness, unlike the tail of the torpedo, loses nothing of her benumbing and lethargizing influence, by reiterated discharges; horses may ride over her and mules and asses may trample upon her, but with an exhaustless and a patient perversity, she continues her narcotic operation even to the end. In fact, the press was never so powerful in quantity, and so weak in quality, as at the present day; if applied to it, the simile of Virgil must be reversed, Non trunco sed frondibus efficit umbram.* It is in literature as in finance-much paper and much poverty may coexist.

It may happen that I myself am now committing

The leaves, not the trunk, cast the shadow.-Puv.

[graphic]
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