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WEAK and delicate minds may, perhaps, be alarmed by the title of this Work. The word "SOLITUDE" may poffibly engender melancholy ideas, But they have only to read a few pages to be undeceived. The Author is not one of those extravagant mifanthropifts who expect that men, formed by nature for the enjoyments of fociety, and im
pelled continually towards it by a mul
titude of powerful and invincible propenfities, fhould feek refuge in forests, and inhabit the dreary cave or lonely cell: he is a friend to the fpecies, a rational philofòpher, and a virtuous citizen, who, encouraged by the esteem of his Sovereign, endeavours to enlighten the minds of his fellow-creatures upon a fubject of infinite importance to them, the attainment of true felicity.
No writer appears more completely convinced than M. ZIMMERMAN that man is born for fociety, or feels its duties with more refined fenfibility.
Ir is the nature of human fociety, and its correfpondent duties, which he here undertakes to examine. The impor tant characters of Father, Hufband, Son, and Citizen, impofe on Man a variety of obligations, which are always dear to virtuous minds, and establish between him, his country, his family, and his friends, relations too neceffary and attractive to be difregarded.
"What wonder, therefore, fince th' endearing ties
"Of man fo clofe, what wonder if to fearch
With unrefifted charms? The fpacious Weft,
BUT it is not amidst tumultuous joys and noify pleasures, in the chimeras of ambition, or the illufions of felf-love, in the indulgence of feeling, or the gra tification of defire, that men must expect to feel the charms of thofe mutual Patarbiyaa. ties
ties which link them fo firmly to fociety. It is not in fuch enjoyments that men can feel the dignity of those duties, the performance of which Nature has rendered productive of fo many pleafures, or hope to taste that true felicity which refults from an indepen dent mind and a contented heart: á felicity feldom fought after, only becaufe it is fo little known, but which every individual may find within his own bofom. Who, alas! does not conftantly experience the neceffity of entering into that facred afylum to fearch for confolation under the real or imaginary misfortunes of life, or to alleviate indeed more frequently the fatigue of its painful pleasures? Yes, all men, from the mercenary trader, who finks under the anxiety of his daily tafk, to the proud ftatefman, intoxicated by the incenfe of popular applause, experience the defire of terminating their arduous career. Every bofom feels an anxiety for repofe, and fondly withes to steal from the vortex of a busy and a 4
perturbed life to enjoy the tranquillity
cc Hackney'd in business, wearied at that oar "Which thousands, once chain'd fast to, quit no more, "But which, when life at ebb runs weak and low, "All wifh, or feem to wifh, they could forego... "The flatefman, lawyer, merchant, man of trade, "Pants for the refuge of a peaceful fhade; "Where, all his long anxieties forgot “Amidst the charms of a fequefter'd spot, "Or recollected only to gild o'er, "And add a fmile to, what was fweet before, "He may poffefs the joys he thinks he fees, "Lay his old age upon the lap of ease, "Improve the remnant of his wafted span, And, having liv'd a trifter, die A MAN.”
Ir is under the peaceful fhades of Solitude that the mind regenerates and acquires fresh force; it is there alone that the happy can enjoy the fulnefs of felicity, or the miferable forget their woe; it is there that the bofom of fenfibility experiences its moft delicious emotions; it is there that creative genius frees itself from the thraldom of fociety, and furrenders itself to the impetuous rays of an ardent imagination. To this defired goal all our ideas and
and defires perpetually tend.
"is," fays Dr. JOHNSON,
CC any writer who has not celebrated
the happiness of rural privacy, and delighted himself and his readers "with the melody of birds, the whif per of groves, and the murmurs of "rivulets; nor any man eminent for "extent of capacity, or greatness of "exploits, that has not left behind him "fome memorials of lonely wisdom "and filent dignity."
THE original Work from which the following pages are felected, confifts of four large volumes, which have acquired the univerfal approbation of the German Empire, and obtained the fuffrages of an Emprefs celebrated for the fuperior brilliancy of her mind, and who has fignified her approbation in the most flattering manner.
ON the 26th of January, 1785, a courier, difpatched by the Ruffian Envoy at Hamburgh, prefented M. ZIMMERMAN with a fmall cafket, in the name of her Majefty the Empress