PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION.
"Fun is the most conservative element of society, and it ought to be cherished and encouraged by all lawful means. People never plot mischief when they are merry. Laughter is an enemy to malice, a foe to scandal and a friend to every virtue. It promotes good temper, enlivens the heart and brightens the intellect."
This edition of "Out of the Hurly-Burly; or, Life in an Odd Corner," has been prepared with a view to its publication in England, and the sole right to issue the book in that country has been disposed of by me to Messrs. Ward, Lock and Tyler, who pay liberally for this exclusive privilege.
The volume is American in character, and in its incidents. It is, indeed, a story of life in a quiet American village which, unlike most of the towns in the United States, can count the years of its existence by centuries. I venture to hope that the book contains much that will interest intelligent Englishmen who do not care simply to be amused, while I am sure that those who believe that the man who laughs is the best and happiest man, will find some things in the volume which will provoke mirth.
It may be well to say that the use of the lash as a means of punishment, to which allusion is made in the 13th and 14th chapters, is peculiar to not more than two of the thirty-seven states in the Union. The mass of the people of the country, and, indeed, many of the citizens of the two commonwealths in question, regard the whipping-post as a relic of barbarism, and the flogging of criminals as inhuman, and wholly useless for the prevention of crime.
English readers of this book will find that the orthography differs in some respects from that to which they have been accustomed. I have adhered throughout to the spelling given in the dictionary of Noah Webster, which is the standard authority in the United States. The people of that land are, as it were, all under Noah's spell, and I have naturally followed the common practice. It is worth while to mention this fact so that those who are dissatisfied can find fault with Noah and not with me. He can bear harsh criticism more serenely than I can, for he is dead.