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Ir is needless to make an apology for gathering into a volume these specimens of literature, that have no common tie except an origin in our own State. There is doubtless sufficient value in this selection to make it worthy the attention of the public, and sufficient State feeling among us to render it peculiarly interesting to the sons and daughters of New Hampshire.

It is of course impossible in one small volume like this, to do justice to the literature and talent of our State. New Hampshire has been called the Scotland of America, and her sons, like the Scotch, have visited every region, and left monuments of their enterprise and ability wherever they have gone. The literature of almost all the States in our Union must be thoroughly scrutinized, before we can do justice to our own State. Referring our readers to the list of authors contained in the present work, and to the various posts and professions which they adorn, we would present these merely as specimens of our literary wealth, without in the least pretending to give an idea of its whole extent. Many writers have been omitted, whose works we would gladly have noticed. It has not been always possible to find the older and rarer works of our citizens; and moreover it has been very difficult to represent some whole departments of literature, for instance, the theological and legal. Many of our prominent clergymen have put forth no productions that might not be considered as too much of a denominational character; and most of the learned arguments of our lawyers are far better adapted to persuade a jury or convince a judge than to give charm to a pleasant volume like this. Many able and distinguished men among us have published nothing, that has come to our knowledge; and we have doubtless overlooked the claims of many young men of high talent, who have gone from us and settled in distant places, and the place of whose birth it is not easy to ascertain. In the different colleges in the South and West, about forty natives of our State are employed as professors or presiding officers.

We have tried to represent all classes, professions and interests fairly in our selections, and if we have erred in any respect, it has


been rather from ignorance or inadvertence than from any conscious partialities.

It has been our aim to give specimens of the writings only of natives of the State. In a very few cases we have departed from this rule in regard to individuals, who have lived so long among us, as to have become identified with the State.

It will be observed, that a considerable proportion of the authors in our collection have not spent their lives in the State, but have sought their fortunes in other regions. But their writings may be considered as none the less native and characteristic; for it is the land of one's birth and early breeding, that forms the character and developes the powers. A sufficient reason for the departure of so many citizens from our State, may be found in the want of those large cities, which alone are able to reward brilliant talents.

This collection is by no means meagre in poetry. We are able to give a satisfactory answer to the query of a writer in the North American Review some ten years ago, who marvelled that a tate, so rich in beautiful and sublime scenery as our own, had given no considerable indication of poetic talent. We refer to our pages for satisfactory proof, that the Muses have dwelt among our mountains, lakes and rivers, and that not only in sturdy enterprise, but in other respects, New Hampshire is not unworthy of her name, the Scotland of America.

With these few suggestions, we present our work to the reader, asking for ourselves but the humble credit of compilation, and of course with no claim to the reputation of authorship.

Nashua, Dec. 11, 1841.


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