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THE RED BARN,

A TALE,

FOUNDED ON FACT.

Wo see the ground whereon these woes do liki
Isnt the true cause
We cannot, without circumstancc, doscry.

STARRSPRIDA


LONDON:

PRINTED FOR JOIN BENNETT,

IHREE TUN PASSAGE, IVY LANE, PATERNOSTER 110,

AND SOLD BY ALL BOOKSELLERS.

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PREFACE.

The following Tale is founded on a fact, 80 recently and so notoriously known to the public, that it is unnecessary to do more in this place than merely to allude to it; but as works, made up of fact and fiction, are generally most approved when “ Time's good mouldiness bath hallowed” the latter quality objections may be raised against the practice of plucking the green romance from life and masking it with fiction. It may not be unnecessary, therefore, to reply to them.

Yet these objections must be so frivolous, that they scarcely require an answer. We suppose it must be granted that mere amusement is not the sole end of novel writing—that one great

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object of the novelist is to convey lessons of morality. If so, life in all its bearings is his province; and he may take, we think, with greater moral effect, those circumstances which pass before his eyes every day, than those which from remoteness must lose much of their vividity: the novelist may in such clearly set forth the gradations of folly, of vice, of reckless imprudence, or ungoverned passion. In this view, the circumstance on which our Tale is founded, is as legitimate a basis for a novel as any other; and the fact of its having been the subject of legal investigation and punishment can make no sort of difference in the case.

If authority be required, to second argument on this point, the highest is not wanting to say nothing of a host of dramatists and novelists, who have employed similar foundations for their works, we shall only mention the name of Sir Walter Scott. In some of the most interesting and affecting of his earlier productions, his plots entirely

turn on cases of this kind; and one of the best stories in his last work, “ The Tales of the Canongate,” is that of a murderer at whose trial he was himself present:-we mean the tale of 6 The Two Drovers." But even his high authority is not necessary to sanction what is supported by every principle of reason and common sense.

The only reply we can give to those who talk of the compromise of feelings, and the excitement of prejudice, is, “Read our book.” With the exception of the criminal, his victim, his crime, and those who are not within the range of painful allusion, the characters and adventures in this Novel are purely imaginary. Real names are never mentioned, except where no possible harm can result from mentioning them; and actual facts have been studiously disregarded, excepting where they were absolutely necessary to the developement of the plot:

In short, the author of the “RED ARN' is desirous that his work should not be con

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