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FIRST ENGLISH EDITION.
AMONGST the many humorous classics that good and genial men have left behind them to cheer and delight society, not one is ever taken up with more pleasure, or quoted with greater delight, than our old friend The Ingoldsby Legends. It is one of those works that smooth down wrinkles, and keep a healthy glow upon people's cheeks. It is a book for the winter of life, which we may place in the same category with merry friends, cheerful fires, and cozy
There is another work, or rather, series of works, less classical, but equally well known, which we never speak of without a smile of satisfactionSam Slick and the Sayings and Doings of the Clockmaker.
Along with these works, now a generation old, may be placed The Biglow Papers, a small book of point and humor, equal, Fraser's Magazine says, to The Ingoldsby Legends in fun and the Rabelaiesque
of poetry; and better by far, Christopher North (no bad judge), in Blackwood, declares, than the Yankee stories of Judge Haliburton.
The author, Mr. James Russell Lowell, Professor of Belles Lettres in Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is already well known in this country as an American poet of high reputation ; and to a few persons well informed in Western literature and literary gossip, he is also known as a satirist of genuine excellence, and as a star in the Boston literary coterie,-nicknamed by jealous New-Yorkers the Mutual Admiration Society.
In one character, however, that of a writer of humorous poetry, he has yet to be introduced to the British public. His title to fame in this rests upon two volumes, The Fable for Critics, a witty but goodnatured criticism upon his American contemporaries, written after the manner of Leigh Hunt's amusing work, and certainly quite as clever as that production; and The Biglow Papers, which, after being republished three or four times in the United States, are now, for the first time, brought out in this country. The work had previously been very highly spoken of here by some eminent literary personages, when John Bright drew public attention to it by quoting from its pages in the House of Commons. An immediate demand arising from this notice has induced the editor to publish an English edition; and, in order to a clear understanding of the aim and method of these Papers, he has thought it advisable to prefix a brief explanation.
A quarter of a century ago, the modern antislavery movement, as it is called, aiming at such a revolution in the public sentiment of the United States as shall overthrow the system of American slavery, was commenced by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, of Boston. At the outset, as might have been expected, it met with numerous difficulties, and effected but little change in the public sentiment; but with time it gathered strength, its high moral purpose commending it more and more to the sound judgment and humane instincts of the people of the Free States. To this noble cause Mr. Lowell has always given his heartiest sympathy, aiding by his pen and his influence the efforts of the anti-slavery body. Latterly, he has allied himself, in his various humorous and satirical writings, to the Republican party, the principal aim of which is to check the growth of slave power, and put a stop to the extension of slavery into new territories. This great body of Northern politicians has sprung out of the numerous smaller political parties, which are ever starting into a mushroom existence from the
peculiar form of Government, diverse interests, and.