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PREFACE

OF THE

FRENCH TRANSLATOR.

the

THE Title of this work will perhaps give fome alarm to delicate ears: word "SOLITUDE" may inspire melancholy and unfavourable ideas: it is however, only neceffary to read a few pages to be undeceived. The author is not one of those extravagant Mifanthropes who would compel mankind, born for Society, and connected with it by a variety of indiffoluble ties, to retire into forefts, to inhabit dens and caves, and to live only with wild beafts; he is a friend to hu manity, a fenfible and virtuous individual, an honest citizen, honoured by the esteem of

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his Prince, who endeavours to enlighten the minds of his fellow-creatures upon a fubject the most interesting to them-the attainment of HAPPINESS.

No writer appears more completely fatiffied that Man is born for Society, or feems to have better ftudied all the focial duties of life, than M. ZIMMERMANN. But what is Society? what are the focial duties of life? Thefe are the questions which the author examines. The important characters of Father, Husband, Son, and Citizen, impofe on MAN certain indifpenfable obligations which are ever dear to the virtuous heart; they establish between him, his country, and his family, relations too neceffary and too agreeable to be neglected. It is not however in tumultuous joys, in the noisy pleasures of public entertainments, in blindly following the chimeras of ambition, the illufions of felflove, or the fpeculations of defire, that men muft expect to feel the charms of thofe reciprocal ties which unite them to Society; to perceive the dignity of those duties which nature made productive of so many pleasures;

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to taste that true felicity which is accompanied by independence and content: a felicity fo seldom defired only because it is fo little known, but which every man may find within his own breaft.

ALAS! who has not frequently experienced the neceffity of entering into that sacred asylum as a refuge from the misfortunes of life, or as a relief from the fatigues of fatiated pleasures? Yes, all men, from the fordid schemer who daily finks under the weight of his labours, to the proud statesman intoxicated by the incenfe of popular applaufe, experience the defire of terminating their precarious career; every bofom feels an anxiety for repofe; every mind fondly wishes to fteal from the Vortex of a bufy and unquiet life, to enjoy tranquillity in the Solitude of retirement. Under the peaceful fhades of Solitude the mind of Man regenerates, and his faculties acquire new force; it is there alone that the happy can enjoy the fulness of felicity, or the miferable forget his woe; it is there that the bofom of fenfibility experiences its most delicious emotions; it is there that creative ge

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nius frees itself from the thraldom of Society,
and darts forth the warmest rays of imagina-
tion: all the ideas of our minds, every in-
clination of our hearts, lean toward this de-
fired goal.
"There is indeed," fays a fen-
fible Englishman, "fcarcely any writer who
"has not celebrated the happiness of rural
privacy, and delighted himself and his
"readers with the melody of birds, the
whisper of groves, and the murmur of
"rivulets; nor any man eminent for extent
"of capacity or greatness of exploits, that
"has not left behind him fome memorials
"of lonely wifdom and filent dignity."

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THE part of the work to which I am moft attached is particularly addreffed to the attention of YOUTH; it is to them that it will perhaps be most useful, and I fondly flatter myfelf that to their minds it will alfo afford the highest pleasure. Young myfelf, and fenfible of the truly beautiful, I felt myself led on by the charms of a work which elevated any mind, warmed my imagination, and touched my heart. May it produce the fame effects upon my young countrymen! May it, notwith

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notwithstanding the weakness of this tranflation, infpire them with the like enthusiasm ! At least I may venture to exclaim in! words of M. ZIMMERMANN, "Dear and "virtuous young man, into whofe hands this "book perchance may fall, receive with af"fection the good which it contains, and cr reject all that is cold and fpiritless; all "that does not touch and penetrate the heart! "But if you thank me for the performance, "if you blefs me, if you acknowledge that "I have enlightened your mind, corrected

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your manners, and tranquillized your "heart, I fhall congratulate myself on the "fincerity of my intentions, and think my "labours richly rewarded. If the perusal of "it fhall fortify your inclination for a wise "and active Solitude, juftify your averfion "from those focieties which only serve to deftroy time, and heighten your repug66 nance to employ vile and fhameful means "in the acquifition of riches, I fhall ask no "other benediction for my work."

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It will perhaps appear furprising that, entertaining fo high a veneration for the writ

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