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ENGLISH EDITOR'S PREFACE.
I CAN safely say that few things in my life have pleased me more than the request of Messrs. Trübner, backed by the expressed wish of the author, that I would see the first English edition of the “Biglow Papers” through the press. I fell in with the Papers about ten years ago, soon after their publication ; and the impression they then made on me has been deepening and becoming more lively ever since. In fact, I do not think that, even in his own New England, Mr. Lowell can have a more constant or more grateful reader, though I cannot say that I go much beyond most of my own intimate friends over here in ту
love for his works. I may remark, in passing, that the impossibility of keeping a copy of the “Biglow Papers” for more than a few weeks (of which many of us have had repeated and sorrowful proof 1) shows how much an English Edition is needed.
Perhaps, strictly speaking, I should say a reprint, and not an edition. In fact, I am not clear (in spite of the wishes of author and publishers) that I have any right to call myself editor, for the book is as thoroughly edited already as a book need be. What between dear old Parson Wilbur—with his little vanities and pedantries, his “infinite faculty of sermonizing,” his simplicity and humour, and his deep and righteous views of life, and power of hard hitting when he has anything to say which needs driving home--and Father Ezekiel, “the brown parchmenthided old man of the geoponic or bucolic species," 6676 year old cum next tater diggin, and thair aint nowberes a kitting" (we readily believe) "spryer 'n he be;" and that judicious and lazy sub-editor, “Co
Should this meet the eye of any persons who may have forgotten to return American copies of the “Biglow Papers” to their respective owners, they are requested to forward them to the publishers. The strictest secrecy will be preserved, and an acknowledgment given in The Times if required,
lumbus Nye, pastor of a church in Bungtown Corner," whose acquaintance we make so thoroughly in the ten lines which he contributes—whatever of setting or framing was needed, or indeed possible, for the nine gems in verse of Mr. Hosea Biglow, has been so well done already in America by the hand best fitted for the task, that he must be a bold man who would meddle with the book now in the editing way. Even the humble satisfaction of adding a glossary and index has been denied to me, as there are already very good
I have merely added some half-dozen words to the glossary, at which I thought that English readers might perhaps stumble. When the proposal was first made to me, indeed, I thought of trying my hand at a sketch of American politics of thirteen years ago, the date of the Mexican war and of the first appearance of the “Biglow Papers.” But I soon found out, first, that I was not, and had no ready means of making myself, competent for such a task ; secondly, that the book did not need it. The very slight knowledge which every educated Englishman has of Transatlantic politics will be quite enough to make him enjoy the racy smack of the American soil, which is one of their great charms; and, as to the particular characters, they are most truly citizens of the world as well as Americans. If an Englishman cannot find Bird-oʻ-freedom Sawins,' 'John P. Robinson's,' pious editors,' and candidates "facin' south-by-north" at home-ay, and if he is not conscious of his own individual propensity to the meannesses and duplicities of such, which come under the lash of Hosea he knows little of the land we live in, or of his own heart, and is not worthy to read the “ Biglow Papers.”
Instead, therefore, of any attempt of my own, I will give Mr. Lowell's own account of how and why he came to write this book. “All I can say is,” he writes, 66 the book was thar. How it came is more than I can “ tell. I cannot, like the great Göthe, deliberately “ imagine what would have been a proper 'Entstehungsweise' for my book, and then assume it as
I only know that I believed our war with “ Mexico (though we had as just ground for it as a “strong nation ever had against a weak one) to be
essentially a war of false pretences, and that it would