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HORÆ OTIOSÆ;

OR,

THOUGHTS, MAXIMS, AND OPINIONS.

“Le jugeinent est un outil à tous sujets,
et se mêle par tout."

Montaigne.

LONDON:

HOLDSWORTH AND BALL,

ST. PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD

1833.

LONDON :

R. CLAY, PRINTER, BREAD-STREET-HILL.

PRE FACE.

In the following work, the reader will discover little besides the bare thought, expressed for the most part in the fewest words. It has been the aim of the writer, without excluding attempts at analysis, to convey rather truth in the mass, than the appendages or details of truth; to exhibit the results of meditation, more than the process by which those results may have been attained. He conceives that this is the method exemplified by many of the best authors, especially by Lord Bacon in his Essays; a performance which, though not deficient in illustration or fancy, abounds, perhaps more than any other production in our language, in general and comprehensive views.

The ablest compositions are unquestionably those which condense the greatest body of thought into the least possible compass; and the books which consist chiefly of aphorisms, or concise and philosophical reflections, include some of the most valuable portions of literature. Without any pretensions to so distinguished a rank, the subsequent pages will accomplish their design, should they be found to contribute but a few fragments towards the erection of the fabric of Truth.

Of the ideas introduced, some will perhaps be thought not sufficiently developed, and others may be regarded as incorrect or problematical. In a work which touches on so great a variety of subjects, it is only reasonable to suppose that several opinions may be advanced, to which the judgment of all will not readily accede. It is hoped, however, that attentive consideration will serve to diminish the number of those passages of which the sentiment may be deemed erroneous, as well as to remove the obscurity, or supply

any deficiencies, occasioned by the brevity of other passages. At all events, the merits of the volume are to be determined by its general character, not by any detached portions.

It may be proper to intimate, that the reflections which it contains were originally committed to writing as they occurred to the mind. The author has since distributed them under a few leading topics, as some kind of arrangement seemed preferable to a totally miscellaneous and immethodical order of succession. Against the particular classification which has been made, it would not be difficult to urge objections; and several of the remarks might have appeared, with perhaps equal propriety, in some of the sections to which they are not allotted. But he feels little hesitation in acknowledging, that he views the method of the work as a point of very inferior moment. Almost all subjects, as well as truths, have a mutual affinity, and more or less blend with each other; and should the observations themselves be judged worthy of attention, he will

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