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carries within itself its own unaided evidence and intrinsic demonstrations, the Author humbly hopes it will be no less cordially received and patronized, (as "those who are not against you are for you"). Without your aid the writer is quite aware how vain would be an individual's attempt to stem the tide of VULGAR PREJUDICE, overturn the inveterate custom of GOTHIC BARBARITY, or chase its GRISLY GORGON from the GRAVE!
He, therefore, appeals to your sacred tribunal, fully expecting a liberality of sentiment commensurate to your respective superiority of station and power to do good. And if magnanimity of mind be most exalted when it exerts itself to save those who are most depressed, it never can shine so resplendently as when it intrepidly passes the rubicon of horror, descends into the premature grave, and snatches the poor devoted victim from the ineffable fate of living inhumation or being BURIED ALIVE!!!
Beside, "this virtue is not without its own re
ward;" for he that establishes this law upon an universal basis eventually secures himself from the direful penalties arising from neglecting it.
If the Author's feeble efforts to convince you of the necessity of interfering in this momentous affair should excite a disposition to see its impor tance, and your benevolence should impel you to give it full effect, it will satisfy him that having justified his existence, (as every man ought to do by doing some permanent good to society), he will leave the world better than he found it; and, in due time, quietly resign himself to his parent earth, persuaded he was not born or lived in
And begs leave to subscribe himself with submissive allegiance to your Royal Highness, and due deference to all the rest, their devoted servant in the cause of humanity, &c.
Sd July, 1817.
THE progress of human attainment, whether of one individual or a whole nation, is such an incompatible mixture of error and correction, from perfect inanity to what purblind mortals call maturity, that though every gradus seems right to the possessor, at the moment of exercising it, yet a prudent man, if he intend his sentiments to stand the test of time and experience, is puzzled to know where, or in which stage of his own blundering existence, to advance his opinions to the world; lest future improvement in himself or others may make that which seemed indubitable, at the time of writing it, appear crude and ridiculous in future! and more especially on original subjects, which (like the following strictures on Premature Interment) have not been familiarised by time, or sanctioned by the public, to render them digestible.
Cogitations of this kind (encouraged and cultivated by the Author of the present piece to destroy, by time and after-thought, the dross of
vanity) have kept this performance back upwards of thirteen years after the first impression had fixed itself on his mind; for though, in himself, he considered the work paramount, in importance, to all others, yet, the idea of advancing to the whole world a subject (though not altogether new in itself, yet) so little attended to in the quotidian and stunning clamours of moneygetting, as to have become nearly obsolete, he considered running a very great hazard.
There is something so sacred in custom, in the idea of the major part of the world, that any innovation upon its usages is sure to create an alarm! consequently, the work and writer both would have to pass the "fiery ordeal" of every one's criticism, qualified or not: or whatever particular cast of thought such critic might be of! or stage of progression he might be in at the time of judging! and well knowing that the accidental modes of life, education, and degree of experience, individuals may have attained to, influence the human mind more than the possessor is generally aware of, he became alarmed at standing alone, even in the cause of humanity itself! at least, as far as regarded co-temporary support, and would have thrown the work totally aside, had not two or three cases, which transpired in the public newspapers, (of persons being buried alive!) stimulated his, conscience
afresh to the recollection, "that a candle is not lighted to be put under a bushel!" he was, therefore, imperatively urged to diffuse that light to the world, which common justice and humanity told him was too much neglected in the present day, or those accidents could not have taken place; thus, viewing himself amenable to God and his country for any consequences resulting from his withholding it, on the one hand, yet determined that whatever he might write on this awful subject should never call up the blush of guilt on the other, or reproach him for vanity, in future, for writing it, he has taken the opinion and advice of others, before he would let it appear on the great theatre of the world for general inspection.
He knew that the disposition of the great bulk of mankind was rather to lull itself in false and fatal security, (perhaps future ruin,) than expose its present feelings to the necessary pangs of investigation; and, to rouse such dull minds as these, he has been more descriptive in the scenes of horror, than sensibility or his own wishes required; but, as the unthinking could, not be awakened from their torpor without bringing the matter quite home to themselves or relatives, he hopes the delicate reader will pardon it: for his object has not been to wound the heart or ear of the most susceptible; and if the soul be some