Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][graphic]

Copyright, 1861, 1862, 1883, 1889, and 1891,
By OLIVER WENDELL Holmes.

All rights reserved.

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co.

PREFACE.

THE character of the opposition which some of these papers have met with suggests the inference that they contain really important, but unwelcome truths. Negatives multiplied into each other change their sign and become positives. Hostile criticisms meeting together are often equivalent to praise, and the square of fault-finding turns out to be the same thing as eulogy.

But a writer has rarely so many enemies as it pleases him to believe. Self-love leads us to overrate the numbers of our negative constituency. The larger portion of my limited circle of readers must be quite indifferent to, if not ignorant of, the adverse opinions which have been expressed or recorded concerning any of these Addresses or Essays now submitted to their own judgment. It is proper, however, to inform them, that some of the positions maintained in these pages have been unsparingly attacked, with various degrees of ability, scholarship, and good-breeding. The tone of criticism naturally changes with local conditions in different parts of a country extended like our own, so that it is one of the most convenient gauges of the partial movements in the direction of civilization. It is satisfactory to add, that the views assailed have also been unflinchingly

« PreviousContinue »