« EelmineJätka »
and intemperance and exaggeration fucceed better than calmness and moderation. We are told, that it is impoffible for the narrator of the events and circumstances of his own times to be impartial, and that things, in proportion as they are viewed through the coloured and distorting medium of prejudice, will be more or lefs mifrepresented.
This pofition, indeed, I am by no means difpofed to controvert. Of the fubject of the following Letters I would fay, Periculofum eft credere et non credere. Real information is important, but it is hard to point out where this information is to be obtained. Each party has its appropriate tale, and is prepared to reply to every statement from the oppofite quarter,
"It is not fo, thou haft mis-spoke, mif-heard; "Be well advis'd; tell o'er thy tale again.
"It cannot be.
"I trust I may not trust thee."
The man who wishes to approximate his opinion as nearly as poffible towards the truth, will perufe every profeffed partywriter with diftruft, and compare and analize the difcordant accounts of the fame tranfactions. He may, after all, be more dif pofed to form his judgment by combining a number of detached and apparently unimportant details, than by the ftudied narrative of the fyftematic hiftorian; he may prefer a flight sketch taken en passant and without any profeffed object, to a more laboured picture by the hand of a party artist.
To every person of this description the Letters which I am here presenting to the Public will be acceptable. Though they may not be strictly impartial, they appear to have been written under no reprehensible impreffion. They abound more in plain undecorated narrative, than in deep and
pointed reflection; and are fimply the Journal of an English Lady, who was lately making a tour through France, in company with her husband, a military gentleman, and a foreigner, but who, neverthelefs, had refided in a flattering fituation feveral years in England. They were addreffed to a Lady of Fashion attached to one of the branches of the Royal Family, and have been hands to prepare them for the prefs ;-having been thought to contain fome information, which, in these times, would not be unacceptable to the Public.
Being a mere Journal, written on "the 'fpur of the occafion," without any regard to ftyle and arrangement, and containing a number of private as well as public matters, they required fome abridgment and correction to fit them for Publication. I have been requested to undertake
take the office of Editor, and I hope that I have not done more than the ftate of the Letters, when put into my hands, required. I have intitled them-A Sketch of Modern France, though every part of their contents may not answer this title,-have affixed a motto,-and given a plain tranflation of the French paffages. I am
forry not to be permitted to mention either the name of the Lady who wrote them, or that of the Lady to whom they were addreffed, as this has obliged me reluctantly to put my own in the title in order to authenticate the publication.
Though, however, I ftand forward to declare the publication to be, what it pretends to be, the Letters of a Lady written. in France and partly in Switzerland, during the years 1796 and 1797,-I cannot be fuppofed to be anfwerable for the truth of the facts related. I can only affure the